Monday, July 18, 2005

WHERE ARE YOU GOING?

Many of us dream of getting on the road and going wherever our mood takes us. That is fine for retired people, but if you are taking a vacation with limited time and funds you had better plan ahead and decide where you want to go, and how you are going to get there.

Successful writing involves making plans, setting goals for yourself, some of them long-term and others short-term. You may have big dreams and goals but if you don't plan the steps you will take along the way chances are you will never get there.

Let's start with time management. Your first goal may be to set aside a specific time for writing and then stick to it. Treat your writing like a business. Don't let other people or events interfere with your writing time. How much time you set aside will depend on your particular situation. We all have different lifestyles and different demands on our time. In the beginning I set my alarm to wake me an hour earlier so that I would have that one hour of uninterrupted time for writing. It worked very well for me. You may need to write during the baby's nap or at night after the children are in bed. You may have to spend less time cleaning house. My schedule has changed over time, but I am spending much more time writing now than I did then. Now that one hour before my husband gets up is used for reading.

Maybe your dream is to write a picture book, or young adult novel, or maybe you want to write for children's magazines. Those are wonderful aspirations but how will you accomplish that? You might divide up your long-term goal into small steps and make each of those steps a short-term goal, such as; market research, query letter, outlining, writing, cover letter, submitting.

Set small, doable goals for yourself. Getting a picture book published is not a small, doable goal because it requires a pulisher that wants your book. That is not in your control. How many pages you will write this week is doable. How many markets you will research today is a worthwhile goal. How much time you will spend researching your non-fiction article is a fine goal. Your goals might be to put X number of manuscripts in the mail each month, or to write a chapter each week for your young adult romance. Your long-term goal might be to write and submit 5 picture books this year. If you have the time that may be doable. The choice is yours so long as it is something you can accomplish.

To be a successful writer you must have a destination in sight. Get out that roadmap and determine where you are going and how you will get there. Then hit the road to success!

(c)2005 Sharon A. Soffe

2 comments:

Susan Taylor Brown said...

Nice post Shari!

Shari Lyle-Soffe said...

Thanks, Susan.