Because I have a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, I’ve been in various management positions over the years. I’ve learned about the importance of having a business plan, of having short and long term goals, and keeping yourself responsible if you don’t make those goals.
Last year, I made the decision to treat my writing like a job. I wasn’t going to treat it like a hobby anymore, writing when I wanted to, or if I wanted to. I was going to have a plan, with long term and short term goals. That was in October.
My long term goals:
Focus on publishing.
Then I created short term goals to accomplish those. In fact, I made a schedule for myself, one that I was going to stick to. In the month of October, I was going to outline for NaNoWriMo. In November, obviously I was going to write Book 1 of a brand new story I’d come up with. I told myself to spend at least 2-3 hours a day on writing.
When I first started, I didn’t think I’d be able to do 2-3 hours’ worth of planning in the month of November. Boy, was I wrong! Giving myself a time limit, as well as a plan gave me the chance to explore this world in a way I never imagined possible. I knew my characters inside and out, I knew the setting, and I had a very detailed outline. With it, I wrote book 1 in 14 days. In the next 14, I wrote book 2, which I wasn’t even expecting to do.
In December, I sat down and planned out the rest of the year.
December 10-February 15th. Rewrite Book 1 (I figured giving myself two months would be enough.)
February 16-March 30th – Rewrite Book 2 and send out to betas. (I was a little more ambitious, since I only gave myself a month and a half)
April – second revision of Book 1 during Camp NaNoWriMo (I figured that this wouldn’t be as extensive of a revision, so it wouldn’t need as much time)
May-June – Rewrite Book 2.
July – final revision of Book 1, fine tuning, send out to betas again
August – start sending out Queries of book 1
September – (didn’t have a plan for September)
October – Prepare for NaNoWriMo
November – Write Book 3
I love having a plan, and knowing what I need to focus on. Obviously, I haven’t followed it completely. I finished revisions of Book 1 by January 30th, which meant I started revisions on book 2 much sooner than expected. Also, in May, instead of editing book 2, I ended up doing a cut edit of book 1, and polishing it so that I was ready to send it out to agents. By that point, I’d already sent it to two rounds of betas, as well as critters on Scribophile. In June, I started sending out queries and working on outlining for book 3 and preparing book 2 for CampNaNoWriMo in July.
Since November 1, I’ve written or edited 640,181 words. I’ve done three revisions of Book 1, and two of book 2. I have a clear outline of book 3, and I’ve even started outlining an unrelated book, which I hope to write in November, along with book 3.
The year before, I’d written one first draft, and done three revisions on different novels. I’ve already exceeded that, and we’re not even back to November.
Having a plan works as long as you keep yourself responsible. I don’t use a lot of rewards, but I’m the kind of person that needs to keep to a schedule, even if it’s self imposed.