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What’s the plan, Stan?

Recently I’ve been thinking more about where I want to go as a writer – what’s important to me? What are my long term goals? What is my plan for getting there?

Things to do with my writing have been more fluid this year than at any other time in my writing life. At least, that’s the way it feels. I had a huge, detailed, precise list of goals for the year which I then threw out the window (a decision I am still very pleased I made). I’ve taken to working in small chunks of time now, fiddling with what I want to, no real rhyme or reason. Yet I’m progressing.

And it’s working for me, for the most part. I’m still getting things done. Progress is being made on the novella, and while I had hoped to have this version done by now, at least I know it will happen in the next month or so. Providing of course that nothing else huge crops up.

What is becoming clear to me though, is that I am in two minds about what I want as a writer, and I’m not sure how to resolve it, or whether the two will end up walking hand in hand.

As I said in a recent post, I do still want a publishing deal of some kind – whether through an e-press, small press, bigger press, whatever. But I also want to be generating enough income from my writing (and/or writing related things/stuff I can do from home – I have several small business ideas fermenting away as well) by the time Natalie is in school (so basically, in four years time), in order to not go back into a regular day job.

It seems like a pretty big task really. I do like my goals big, but I really think that I need to get some kind of plan in the works as to HOW I am going to work towards that goal.

The problem with the publishing industry is that you can’t force people to buy your work – whether those people are publishing houses, or readers. No matter whether you are trying to move into the traditional publishing scene, or self publishing, you can only be in control of certain aspects of the process, not the final outcome. There is no set formula that will guarantee that you make money from your writing, and certainly no promise that you’ll make enough to remain free of the evil day job.

I think this core issue is part of why I had decided to self publish. In the long run it meant I had more control, I could guarantee at least that my work would make it out into the world in some form. At least it would feel like forward movement – and hell, when you do the math, it certainly seems to make sense. By comparison, whenever I look around the internet it seems that even the novelists who are selling well aren’t making a decent living.

Which leaves me here, asking Stan what the plan is. How do I figure out a good path to get from here (a couple of short story publications under my belt) to there (making a reasonable part time income). A part of my brain is saying ‘just keep writing, stupid,’ because I know that there is some truth in that. I do need to keep writing. Things seem to flow organically if you keep chipping away at them. But at the same time, I feel like there has got to be something more I could be doing.

Now I just have to figure out what that might be…

Do you have a writers plan? How did you go about creating it? What steps are you taking to get you where you want to be?

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2 thoughts on “What’s the plan, Stan?”

  1. Ah, the great writer’s plan… Yup – got one of those.
    To start with – I have overarching goals that I am working towards (years away).
    Then I break the plan down into years… and then I break it down even further with smaller goals – like start an Authors platform, or submit one piece for professional review, or even find myself some critter partners to bond with.
    I think that having a plan that is based on tangible deliverables means that you can measure yourself and see exactly how far you have come. When you measure yourself, you can also note in anything else that has cropped up that could have impacted the plan, either in acceleration or deceleration.
    I find it extremely beneficial – not just for the fact that I need to write up a professional development plan for my work, but also purely for my writing life. I tend to see that when I put things down in writing, then it will happen. I don’t know if that is part of ingraining into the sub-conscious or not, but it seems to work for me.
    So, Cassie, you should plan. Decide your big goals (I know you have them), break it down into years, and then plan the small goals for the next year that will assist you on your writer’s journey. All the best, my friend – you are doing a great thing here.

  2. It’s a good question! I do have something of a plan. But my IRL process is a lot like my writing process. I’m a pantser not a plotter.

    I have a plan that is loose and is based on my observations and research. It’s also based on what I know about myself. And it is very simple (because I know myself):

    1. This will take three years minimum. To gain trust and to have work out there. I am laying the foundation now and starting for real next year.
    2. I don’t know if I will ever make good money at it. It’s just a fact, something I have accepted so if I don’t make money, I’ll be okay with it and if I do make money I’ll be SUPER okay with it.
    3. I do want to eventually make money, but that isn’t going to be my primary goal. Still, I am making plans on how to read readers.

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