Are You Veering Off Course or On Track as a Writer? By Margaret A. Nystrom, M.A.T.

stock-photo-42115096-personal-perspective-of-a-person-planning-for-workPlease join me in welcoming back award-winning blogger and educator, Margaret A. Nystrom as she discusses veering off course and getting back on track of your writing. Enjoy!


Have you ever gone on a trip far away to somewhere you have never been before, without a map or directions?

Have you ever cooked a complicated dish without a recipe? Would you allow a contractor to build you a house without detailed blueprints drawn up? Of course not. Neither should you, as a writer/author, try to write, publish, and market your book without a serious writer business plan.

A business plan gets you successfully to where you want to go.

It’s your book road map. A good map will keep you from making major mistakes, or getting lost, and gets you to your end goals faster. Your plan should have all the tools you need to accomplish what you want. It’s YOUR writing business, and YOU decide how and where to go!

A Writer Business Plan can get you to your publishing dreams.

Here are five basic parts of a business plan:

1) Mission Statement: First you have to be clear about what exactly you want to accomplish. What would your success look like or entail? Why is this important to you? This is your time for brainstorming what you want, why, and how you want to get there. Your Mission Statement is your focus. It’s your dream and your mission. Be clear, detailed, and precise. Don’t be afraid to revise it to adapt to your needs. Place your Mission Statement in a place where you will see it first thing every morning, then you are more likely to be motivated to stick with it.

2) Goal Setting: Creating large and small goals is the best way to consistently complete your mission of writing and publishing. Prioritize your goals and break them down into small steps that are easily doable in fifteen minute increments. Why fifteen minutes? Because anyone can find the time to work for fifteen minutes a day. There are probably fifteen minutes of commercials in a T.V. hour. Do not focus on more than two or three large goals at any one time. Each of those large goals should have small active steps to focus on, and complete within a deadline. Have a Plan B if you don’t reach your initial deadlines, then you will not be discouraged and give up.

Are your goals realistic or doable? What knowledge, resources, or research do you need? A good writer friend of mine journals her writing process as she meets each goal. Journaling, and giving yourself time for honest reflection is a great way of knowing what works, and what doesn’t, and what is your best work style.

You must be objective and honest with yourself at each stage. You may need more time to hone your craft, and hold off publishing for a  later date.  After setting your goals, print them out as a daily motivational visual. Stick to your goals!

3) Problem-Solving: What do you do if you fail at one of your goals? What do you do if you get stuck and you feel like giving up? What tools do you need for the job if your writing is not working out? What will keep you motivated to stay focused on your goals? You need to answer these questions and have them written down. This is your emergency plan for your writing goals. Usually if you fail at a goal, it is because you were unrealistic about what you could accomplish at one time. If your goal is too big, make smaller steps.

4) Self-Improvement Skills: What skills do you need to be a better writer and to accomplish your goals? Workshops? Conferences? Networking? Critique group? Marketing skills? There are many free classes and resources online and at your public library. Your librarian is also an excellent resource and can get you in touch with other writers.

5) Writer Platform: You can build your brand and your reader audience with an online blogging platform through social media, like WordPress and Twitter. What is your message? Who are you as an author or writer? What makes you different or unique as a writer? Will you self-publish, or go through more traditional routes to publishing? Along with your platform you need to make decisions about marketing, publishing, agents, reviews, mentors, editors, beta readers, book-cover artists, illustrators, photographers, etc. See them as members of your personal writing team.

Challenge yourself daily to meet your goals.

Is what you are doing right now part of your goal? If not, why not? Identify your daily time-wasters, and write down the solution to avoid those time-wasters. Finally, write down what you will reward yourself when you succeed. Have fun!


About the Author


Margaret A. Nystrom, M.A.T., Q.M.H.P.

Margaret A. Nystrom, M.A.T., Q.M.H.P.

Feeling stuck? Need help with procrastination, or writer’s block? Margaret’s award-winning blog,, is a motivational content blog for writers. She is an author, educator, artist, and monthly guest blogger/columnist in N.C. She has taught children and adults for 40 years and created over 25 blogs. She also writes articles and psychological thrillers. Read her new ebook: The Writer’s Control Guide for Procrastination and Writer’s Block: 101 Management Strategies.

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