It’s been, I guess, five years since the first time I went to an authors’ conference.
There were a couple things I remember the conference-goers talking about quite a bit, things I’ve heard discussed at other conferences since.
One thing: Everyone agreed that ultimately, whatever success you do or don’t have, the satisfaction of being a writer comes from the writing itself.
The other thing: You should have a five year plan.
I never did come up with one, but now, five years on, I wonder if I should.
Thinking about it, it occurs to me that a five-year plan’s components might be of three different types:
1. Goals that are (hopefully) under the writer’s own control.
Examples might be
- I will write five times a week.
- I will set up a dedicated place for writing.
- I will finish three novel manuscripts
- I will query 30 reputable agents
2. Goals that are under somebody else’s control.
Examples might be
- I will have a short story published in a science fiction magazine
- I will win a poetry contest
- I will sell two novels to a major publisher
There are a lot of things a writer can do to make these things more likely, but ultimately whether they do or don’t happen is someone else’s decision.
3. Goals that are under nobody’s control.
- I will hit the New York Times bestseller list
- I will sell more books than J.K. Rowling.
I’m not exactly sure to what degree each of these kinds of goals should go into a five year plan. I suspect the plan should be mostly the first kind of goal, with a healthy dose of the second kind if that’s of interest to you. (I know not everyone is interested in publication.) And whether you add the third kind or not depends on whether it would help you write or not.
What writing goals would you put in your five-year plan?
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