Seriously…Write Those Plans Down by Theresa W. Bennett-Wilkes
Let’s welcome back columnist Theresa W. Bennett-Wilkes as she shares with us about planning your writing and your writing career and says, “Seriously…write those plans down.” Enjoy!
Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir men’s blood.
–Daniel Hudson Burnham (Attributed)
Years ago, while searching for my niche as a writer, I stumbled across a how to book on marketing for writers which included an index of activities. These exercises were designed to help novices, aspiring practitioners, and those struggling with self-confidence issues get organized. I plunged into the myriad of possibilities and came up with my ten tips for chroniclers.
Item number two of this list says: Develop a written plan of action for transforming the vision in your head and heart into reality. Those dreams have a far better chance of coming true when committed to paper. As long as they remain ephemeral there’s no opportunity to view them objectively, make assessments, adjustments, or measure progress. Drafting a plan is both empowering and liberating. It’s the chance to ask – and answer – pivotal questions:
- Why write? Why do you write or why do you want to be a writer?
- If you want to go the creative writing route, what are your expectations?
- What genres have captured your attention?
- How much reading do you do, how often, and what kind of material?
- How often do you write? Daily, occasionally, or when you’re in the mood?
- Do you want to write and get paid?
- Do you want to write short stories, blog posts, novellas, novels, poetry or is essay writing your thing?
- Who are you writing for? And how do you intend to reach this audience?
- Do you want to be published? In what format(s)?
- What do you most enjoy about writing?
- What aspect of writing do you find most stressful?
- Do you like, love, or live to write?
Seriously… you’re the only one who knows – even if you’ve got to do some soul searching to find out – sooo… commit those plans to paper – write them down!
I’ve met many a person who admits to dreaming of being a scribe, an editor, or the composer of belles lettres. They’ve confessed to investing in outlays comprising writing instruments, paper, computers, furniture – even space – to get themselves set up but, at the same time, they’ve shied away from writing their plans out – fearful of facing a heartfelt desire in black and white. Seriously…write those plans down. Give yourself a chance to see what they look like.
I’m an advocate of crafting a literary business plan – I have one. However, if this approach seems ambitious, start with a list:
- I want to… and outline as many bullet points as the little gray cells can generate.
- Set it aside for twenty-four to forty-eight hours before taking a second look.
- Get comfortable in a quiet place – one conducive to contemplation and reflection. Be sure to have a clipboard and writing utensils handy.
- While conducting this review, eliminate duplications, then cross off the stuff lacking in appeal – the things you know without a doubt you either don’t want to do, or will not do.
- Don’t feel guilty, don’t agonize over these decisions – be honest with yourself. What remains is the stuff of yearning, strong desire, and passion.
Let this revised list set awhile before taking another look. Pay attention to the shifts in your thinking – listen to your body and permit yourself the luxury of hearing yourself think. Ideas which won’t go away are the ones demanding your attention. What are you going to do about them? While mulling over the foregoing, consider this: composing a plan enables the enterprising writer to hone her/his skills; practice her/his craft, and gain experience. Doesn’t this sound like a win-win proposition? Seriously…write those plans down.
Committing these dreams and desires to paper offers a means of devising a plan of action which can be revised, updated, evaluated, or monitored. The choices are yours – if you really want to be heard, read, and appreciated. Seriously: write those plans down – then do something about them!
©September 2014 by Theresa W. Bennett-Wilkes. All rights reserved.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Theresa Bennett-Wilkes, owner of Holly Tree Publications, LLC, is a freelance writer, published and self-published author, consultant, and writing instructor. She has more than 150 published feature articles and blog posts under her byline. Visit her on the web at: www.alwaystheresa.com.