Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Writer's Wednesday: Do You Have A Plan?

Columnist Donna Alward is back with her last post of 2015 - and looking toward the future.

Do you have a plan?

We're getting close to New Year's. You know, that time that's filled with resolutions and determinations to do things BETTER than we did the year before. In some ways, it's a great motivator. In others, it's a great way to set yourself up for failure. But it can be something else, too: a time to plan to ensure you DON'T fail.

Over the course of the year, you've seen how my columns have been fairly honest about how tough the industry is these days. In talking to other authors, I've seen a common theme: how do we make this easier on ourselves? How can we possibly do everything people are saying we need to do in order to be a success?

I decided, after much stressing and many sleepless nights, that what I needed to do was develop a Strategic Plan.

This is not an easy task for me. While I am admittedly very organized, I'm not really much into math or data analysis. I don't like plotting my books and am very much a pantser with just a loose "foundation" on which to build my story. Having a strategic plan is more than deciding what you want to achieve and when. It's HOW you're going to achieve it, and with measurable outcomes. I'm already kind of stressing about it.

But I think it's necessary. One of the things that I am most proud of when I look around me at other authors and publishing professionals is that we're not just artists: we're business people. We don't just fall in love with our characters and the creative process. We also look after things like marketing, web presence, social media. We quite often design graphics, build ads, write articles, update our own websites, do our own accounting...and if we outsource ANY of that we then manage the hiring of what essentially amounts to sub-contractors.

And we write books. First. Before any of that stuff.

And when we're working harder than ever for less return, it's time to break out the Strategic Plan. Because it would be nice to have a solid focus to work clearly toward certain outcomes, be more efficient... basically, get more bang for our buck. And not be so damned tired.

So this holiday break, I've been sitting down with my plan template and working out just what I want to achieve and how I'm going to achieve it in the next year. It's made me think a lot about the WHY behind many things, and what is really meaningful to me and what serves as a distraction. It's not easy, either, but I'm looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.

In the meantime, all the best to you and yours going into the new year - may we all have health, happiness, and hey, maybe a little wealth too.  Happy New Year!



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  2. Donna, I admire your attitude! I spent a long weekend in November (with a few dear writer friends) coming up with a production plan for 2016. It's made all the difference! I can't believe how much more motivated I am--and get this--I'm getting more done! Have fun with your plan!