Last week I talked about the importance of a long term plan to accomplish my goal of turning my writing aspirations into a career as a published author. I’m still new at this weekly blogging thing, so forgive me. I thought last week’s post was way too long, so I’ll be much more to the point this week. I hear you should only blog if you have something important to say and I think it’s pretty obvious I’m of that opinion. J
So I have an idea where I want to be in five years. But it’s January 10th of the first year. How do I start breaking it down and getting stuff done now?
Here’s the high-level 2011 plan I showed you last week:
- Complete 1 single title and 2 category length novels to submissible stage
- Complete 1st draft on 1 single title novel
- Attend local chapter RWA conference in April
- Pitch single title to agent at conference
- Submit 1 ST to at least 30 agents and 2 CL to Harlequin
- Enter the Golden Heart
- Attend at least 5 local chapter RWA monthly meetings
- Study 3 published books
- Invest at least one hour a week learning about the publishing industry
- Blog 1x a week from predetermined list of topics
The next step is to put some shorter term dates on these things and also start to look at the small tasks that will comprise the whole. For example, I’m not nearly brave (or stupid) enough to walk into a pitch session with a real live agent who is as savvy and successful as Lucienne Diver (YES! I HAVE AN APPOINTMENT WITH LUCIENNE DIVER!!! I’m only a little excited) without doing serious research. So instead of making that one of my goals, I just know that’s part and parcel of the larger task. Same goes with #5 – sub to at least 30 agents. When you do that, you have to have a truly awesome query letter. That means you gotta write one AND get some eyes on it, preferably someone not familiar with the plot of your book.
To expand on my high-level 2011 plan, I created an Excel spreadsheet which looks something like this:
|Jan||Edit Single Title 1||Complete book analysis worksheet||Read the dictionary fifteen min a week|
|Feb||Edit Single Title 1 and send to beta by EOM||Agent spreadsheet and pitch prep/research||Invest one hour a week learning about the industry|
|Mar||Work beta comments on ST1||1.Study published book 1
2.Agent spreadsheet and pitch prep/research
|Blog 1x a week and have a list of topics ready to go|
|Apr||1.Category 1 prework
|1.RWA local chap Conference and agent pitch
2.Submit ST1 to 30 agents
|May||Cat1 edit and send to beta||Agent subs ST1|
|Jun||Work Cat1 beta comments||1.Agent subs ST1
2.Study published book 2
|Jul||Preplan Cat2||Sub Cat1|
|Aug||FD Cat2||YEAR END GOALS:|
|Sep||Edit Cat2 and send to beta by EOM||Study pub book 3||Stay on budget|
|Oct||1.Work beta comments on Cat2
2.Preplan Single Title 2
|GH entry||Attend at least 5 RWA local chap meetings|
|Nov||NaNo ST2||Sub Cat2|
Some things to observe about my more detailed plan:
- Some months are lighter than other months. This is because I took stuff into account like summer vacation and Christmas break.
- I’m not specifying which book I’m going to write (IE one of the thirty or so I have ideas for. I wish I was exaggerating) or which one I’m going to study, so I have leeway in case I change my mind.
- For tasks I know I want to do weekly, I stuck them in the WEEKLY GOALS column (duh) instead of trying to put them into the month slot since it didn’t really make sense that way. Same with yearly.
- I focus better when I separate actual words on the page and career-oriented tasks, which is why they’re um, separated. You don’t have to do it that way, but they are different skill-sets and use different parts of the brain. One’s creative and the other is more analytical.
- FD=fast draft, RWA=Romance Writers of America, NaNo=National Novel Writing Month, and GH=Golden Heart contest. Did I miss any acronyms or is anything else making you crazy because you don’t know what in the blazes I’m talking about?
- This more detailed than the five-year, but less detailed than the weekly plan I’m going to talk about next week. There are a LOOOOOOOT of steps in something simple sounding like “edit single title 1”. I have an editing spreadsheet checklist with forty-five items on it. No, I really don’t expect anyone to be shocked…
I promised to be short this time, so I’m stopping here. Any questions, observations, or recommendations for a nice loony bin? Is this kind of stuff helpful or too much for you to even contemplate?