What you need to achieve your plan
A while back, we covered the need for a plan. You can’t accidentally become a successful writer. It’s about inspiration and perspiration. But to borrow from a a horrid little work cliche, you need to work smarter, not (necessarily) harder. And that’s where your career plan comes in.
According to Scripture, only a pinhead sits down to build a building without figuring out the cost first (New Revised Chris Version). Same with writing. Assuming you have a computer, word processor, and electricity, money shouldn’t be the issue. Cost isn’t always about money, though.
When you sit down to say “well, by the time RPLA opens next spring, I want to have my novel done and three short stories to submit,” there are a bunch of costs. For one, you’ll need probably $150 for entry fees. The harder cost might be time. In our house, for me, things get a little busier once school starts. It’s not like spring when there’s stuff every waking moment. But as we go into the fall, it means I need to do my heavy lifting between now and the end of the calendar year, because things pick up right around January 2.
What about you? What’s your household schedule? When are the times it’s hard for you to get to put fingers to keyboard?
What about the family? Does your son have an Eagle Scout project to knock off this fall? Is your daughter having your first grandchild over the winter? Do you have a world cruise planned for springtime? Are your two elementary-aged children home with you all summer?
You need to set milestones, but you need to realistically factor in the rest of life. There’s very little less inspiring than miserably failing to meet your goal because you ignored the other things that were on your calendar.
Finally, you need to make a decision about what comes first and what doesn’t. If your grandchild’s making her first communion in March and lives up north, you probably need to be part of that. But if your grandkid’s local and has softball games 25 weekends a year, you can probably choose to forego a few of them to get your writing done. (Or maybe not…that’s your call.)
Based on those things, you should probably figure out, on the calendar if possible, when you’re going to plant your keester in front of the keyboard for concentrated writing or editing toward your goal, and when you can’t.
Planning’s important, but you have to make it realistic.