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Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

4 Tips for Creating a Business Plan for 2013

If you're like lots of writers I know, it's difficult to find time to write, much less do all our social networking and promotion. Not many people are yet blessed to be able to write full-time. We have to juggle our writing around jobs, spouses, families, social activities, and other commitments. Right? Sometimes it can be so over-whelming that you just want to pull your hair out. But, if you want to treat your writing seriously, like a business and/or move toward that goal of writing full time, then you have to start dealing with your writing accordingly.

Here are some steps I think every writer should take at the beginning of a new year to help them move forward with their writing goals.

1. Goals. What, specifically, are your goals for this year and what activities do they revolve around. Is your only goal to write? If so, what do you want to write this year. BE VERY SPECIFIC. A novel? More than one? A screeplay? A short story? How many? Sit down and figure out EXACTLY what you want to accomplish this year.

Do you have other goals that don't specifically involve your writing but are an important part of the industry/business? Personally, I divide my goals into four categories: a) writing b) reading (massive TBR list) c) Marketing/Social Networking d) Other revenue concerns.

My a and b categories are pretty self-explanatory. C is for things like growing my online platform, upping my following, promotional things, signings, events, etc. D is kind of a catch-all, miscellaneous category. It's for other things I do within the industry to help bring in money, such as public speaking, guides I sell on clickbank.com, short stories for amazon that are outside my major writing goals, etc.

Those are just the categories I consider. What are yours?

source: forbes.com
2. Time--As we already talked about, most of us don't have twelve hours a day to work on our writing. Figure out how much time you want to spend on writing this year. Again, BE SPECIFIC. This will vary from person to person greatly. It doesn't matter when you do it or even how much, but you must plan and know or it won't happen.

If you can work for a few hours each day, figure out exactly what your daily time frame will be and plan for it. If you can only work a few days a week, figure out what days you will work on it and when. If only once a week, the same thing goes. Remember, you can't stick to a schedule if you don't have one!

3. Outline Specific Goals--Start with general and then get specific. Now, I'm someone who loves to be organized and make lists. You can be as general or as specific as you want with these goals. Don't overwhelm yourself. But I guarantee you'll get more done and be more organized, the more specific you are.

a. Yearly Goals--this is very similar to #1. Just figure out what you want to accomplish in each category this year. 
b. Monthly Goals--Take the amount of work you need to do to accomplish your yearly goals and divide it roughly by 12. This is a great thing to do because it can keep you on track. Each month you can check yourself and know if you're ahead, behind, or right on track.  
Of course, some things, like writing a novel, may not be easily divided like this. If you have to plan, outline, and write an entire novel this year, try something like this: 2 months to plan (so you should be half way through planning by the end of the first month), 1 month to write a detailed outline (so you'll know roughly how many chapters you want to write) and then take the number of chapters and divide it by the months left in the year (9) and try to write that many chapters in each month. It just breaks things down into manageable steps. Of course, each person and project can and should be tailored to your life and abilities. 
c. Weekly Goals--I would go farther and take what you need to accomplish each month and divide it by the number of weeks in the month. This is advantageous for two reasons: 1) it breaks things down further into manageable chunks 2) In any given week each of us will have special occasions, holidays, vacations, etc. to deal with. This way, you can figure out which weeks you won't get as much done and where you can make it up. It helps you so you don't get taken by surprise when that vacation looms and you discover you won't get your month's goals done this month after all.
d. Daily Goals--Are we seeing a pattern yet? Again, if this is too specific, just do what works for you. I don't necessarily plan out the details of what I'm doing each day. I just do them. But I have an idea of what I need to accomplish day in and day out. For example, each day I do my social networking by uploading my blogs and hitting each of my major social platforms at least once. I check and answer emails, and visit my favorite blogger buddies. I also know that whatever book I'm currently reading, I need to get through 20-25% of it. And, I try to get a few hours of writing in as well. As long as I'm doing these things daily, I'm constantly moving forward. 

4. Give yourself a break! Plan for breaks when times get hard. Don't be afraid to step back and give yourself a breather. Also, don't be afraid to modify your goals. One of my goals right now is to read at least one book per week. If in a few weeks or months I find that is too difficult and I just can't read that fast because there's too much going on in my life, that's fine. I can modify the goal to reaching just 1-2 books per month. I'm not giving up, just lightening my load. I'm still moving forward, chiseling away at my TBR list, and being exposed to great authors, which in turn will help me to become a better author! Yea!

If you want to see my New Year's Resolutions in detail, click here.

Do you have a business plan for 2013? What are your goals?

Random Movie Quotes (RMQ)

Don't know what this is? Click the tab at the top of the page.

Yesterday's RMQ was:

Woman: "...You're like my own son."
Man: "I am your own son, Mother."
Woman: "Exactly! I endured eighteen hours of hard labor to bring you into the world. The doctors kept telling me to take drugs, but I told them I wouldn't do anything to hurt my child. Well, I've changed my mind. If you screw up with Elizabeth I swear I'll kill you."

This hilarious exchange was between David Larrabee (Greg Kinnear) and his mother, Maude Larrabee (Nancy Marchand) in the 1995 version of Sabrina.

Today's RMQ is:

There's a story... a legend, about a bird that sings just once in its life. From the moment it leaves its nest, it searches for a thorn tree... and never rests until it's found one. And then it sings... more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. And singing, it impales itself on the longest, sharpest thorn. But, as it dies, it rises above its own agony, to out-sing the lark and the nightingale. The thorn bird pays its life for just one song, but the whole world stills to listen, and God in his heaven smiles. 

Three points possible. One for character, one for actor, one for film. (Hint: this one is also a book!) Good luck! :D

1 comment:

  1. Great way to organize your goals. It's funny, I think some of our personalities lend themselves to more structured goals and timelines, others find it limits their ability to be creative. Like you, I tend to do better with a little more structure. By the way, I am one of those blessed to be able to write "full time" but honestly, am unable to do so for more than a couple hours every day anyway. Then I need to refocus and tackle other things.