No doubt you have a vision for your writing career, but have you ever put it down in black and white? Taking some time to sort through and pray over your writing objectives can provide focus and direction for a solid future. If you do create a vision, here are a few pointers to help you brainstorm.
Why Do You Write?
Make a list of all of the reasons you write. Write about the joys that come with writing – the way your senses sing when you’re in writing mode, the enchantment of building a story world, and the satisfaction of carving away the dross as you edit.
What does writing do for you as a person? Has it strengthened your work ethic or made you a better communicator, for example?
What does writing do for your loved ones? For a long time, I struggled with whether I should write when I had a family to take care of. But I finally accepted that though I have more time when I don’t write, I’m a more satisfied and centered mother when I do. Likewise, how does your writing impact your spouse, your siblings and your parents?
What does writing do for your readers? Even if you’re not published, maybe you’ve touched others through a blog entry or devotional. If you are published, think of some of the reviews and reader emails you’ve received.
Writing about your motivation might not seem essential, but it gives you something to come back to when you’re feeling discouraged, especially if you tend to second guess yourself. And it’s a good way to count your blessings.
What Holds You Back?
List everything that gets in the way of writing – other priorities, fear of failure, dry creative well, etc. Evaluate the obstacles and work out ways to overcome them, whether with self-talk to overcome doubt or jump-starts for writer’s block. Also, think about how you can honor your other God-given priorities, such as family and health, while being true to your calling as a writer.
What Is Your Writing Style?
Set out some basics, such as genre and style. List authors you admire and would like to emulate. Do you want to write spare or with a literary bent? Are you writing to the masses or to a niche? What kind of topics do you want to engage?
But don’t simply stick to the descriptions that define your writing for the market. In your heart of hearts, what do you want your writing to be about? Think of the nerve you want to touch in your readers. Bringing beauty alive, illustrating aspects of God’s character, or simply entertaining people in their harried lives can all be things that could go on your list.
What Are Your Goals?
Think of goals that are measurable and within your power, goals you can clearly illustrate that you’ve met. For example, finish a novel in a year or submit a proposal to twenty agents by March.
This is also the place to plan over time. How much writing will you do in a given period? If you’re not published, what are you going to do to move toward that end? If you are published, what actions are you going to take to develop your career in the next year, over the next five years, the next decade? This is where plans for your future get laid out, so the more specific you can be about writing, marketing and networking, the better.
What Are Your Hopes?
In the writing world there is so much beyond our control. As long as you realize that there are no guarantees for some things, it’s okay to set your hopes out too.
So write out the dream agency and publisher you want for your career. Talk about the kind of sales numbers you’d like to see and whether you’d like to write full time as your only career. Write about how you’d like your books to be remembered. Then plan out ways you can encourage those things to happen.