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The Importance of a Writing Plan For Writers
Do you have a business plan for your writing?
Same Message, Different Words
If you are a writer who simply writes for your own enjoyment, and you have no plans of ever trying to sell your work, then move on. Go watch a soap opera or run some errands, but don’t waste your time reading one more word of this article. Unlike Budweiser, this one is not for you.
If, however, you have a vision of one day selling an article to a magazine, or becoming a best-selling author, or even making passive income on some writer’s site like HubPages, then you should not only read the rest of this article but you should have it branded on our figurative forehead.
I admit that I am not the sharpest tool in the tool shed. There are some lessons that have come to me the hard way, and considerably fewer that have come easily. Luckily I have a marketing degree and happily I paid a certain amount of attention while getting that degree.
One of those lessons that was continually pounded into my impressionable and yet stubbornbrain was that every business must have a business plan. What is that you ask?
I am going to borrow from our good friends Wikipedia for a definition of a business plan:
“A business plan is a formal statement of a set of business goals, the reasons they are believed attainable, and the plan for reaching those goals. It may also contain background information about the organization or team attempting to reach those goals.”
My Own Experience As an Example
I would love to tell you that the day I decided to make writing my business that I immediately sat down and wrote out a business plan, but that would be a fabrication of the highest order. Remember the tool shed analogy.
I spent a good twelve months randomly writing articles on a whim before it dawned on me that I needed focus. I had no plan and my lack of focus was a direct result of that. I was a writer for sure but I had no direction. I had some idea of what it was I wanted to accomplish, but no clear path to travel.
Taking the definition apart, let’s look at the first section, namely a formal statement of a set of business goals.
Looking back I had a nebulous idea of what goals I wanted to attain. I wanted to be a well-known writer whose words inspired others and yes, I wanted to make some money doing this writing thing. That was all I had.
Why did I think they were attainable? I know this will sound laughable, but I believed I could reach my goals because other writers had done so. If it had been done before then I saw no reason why I couldn’t do it. Like I said, laughable1
And what plan did I have for attaining those goals? Well, I was going to write. Then I was going to write some more and then, when I was done with that, I was going to write a bit more.
Do you see where this is going? I did not have a clue, and if I had continued on that path the outcome was predictable: I was going to fail and fail miserably.
Well, Daddy didn’t raise no quitter, so if I was going to continue to write then I needed to develop a very clear and concise plan and that’s exactly what I did.
Let’s take a look at it.
Help from the Small Business Administration
- How to Write a Business Plan | SBA.gov
Helpful tips on how to write a business plan
A Formal Statement of Business Goals
My formal statement goes something like this:
I will be a financially successful writer whose work helps and inspires others.
Short and simple. With this statement I was declaring that I needed to find a way to make money doing this and I needed to focus my writing on the topic of inspiration. No more writing about nature or tourist sites. No more writing humor pieces or “how to” articles. I now have a clear direction that guides every article that I write. This in effect is what I refer to as niche writing. It’s a big world out there with thousands of topics worthy of a writer, but to do a fine job one must find a niche; one must become an expert in that niche. Then you have narrowed the competitive field and given yourself a chance at success.
So I declared two niches: one is a niche that helps writers learn their craft, and one is a niche of personal essays that discuss life and finding hope.
So far so good. Now, how about the reasons why I believe those goals are attainable.
Number one, without a hint of ego, I believe I am a good writer. I believe I can be an excellent writer and that is entirely up to me. If I do the work and continue to grow in my craft, then I will make it.
Number two, the world will always need good writers. With seven billion people on this planet there are more than enough readers out there who will embrace a good writer. They always have and they always will.
Number three, the marketplace is wide open for gunslingers who are willing to try all of the weapons at their disposal. The internet and Social Media have opened up new avenues to follow. The advent of eBooks and online magazines and newspapers has increased the number of markets that will pay money for good writing. In other words, never before have there been so many opportunities for writers who want a piece of the big pie.
And that brings us to my plan for achieving my goals.
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Let’s take a look at what I have done so far and then we’ll chat a bit about the future. To date I have done the following:
- Started a writing business “Professional Writing Services”
- Created a website for that business
- Created a website for my novel
- Created a line of goods that relate to the novel
- Printed business cards
- Established myself online in the social media sites
- Settled on a tagline “Helping Writers To Spread Their Wings and Fly.”
- Wrote over 500 articles for HubPages which I use to submit to magazines
- Established my platform as a professional writer; sold articles to magazines
- Entered the blogging world and currently have one blog with writing tips
- Created YouTube videos that support my articles
- Joined writing forums and communities
- Gave readings at bookstores and libraries
I’m sure I have forgotten some things but that will give you an idea of what has been done so far. As for the future, my mind is spinning with ideas.
I recently discovered blogtalkradio.com and the possibilities there are unlimited. I can easily see myself having a weekly radio talk show discussing all facets of life and thus inspiring people not only with my writing but also over the internet airwaves.
I want to do more with YouTube and will as soon as I learn to squeeze more time out of the day.
My wife and I are looking at property to buy. In two years we want to move out to the country, and one thing we would like to do is establish a writer’s institute where people can come and retreat for a week and learn about writing.
Enter the world of newspaper syndication and get my own weekly syndicated column in newspapers.
Continue to write novels. I have two I am working on currently and my ideas are endless. Writer’s block? What is writer’s block?
And the list goes on and on!
Like anything else in life, this process is constantly being tossed about by life. Things come up. Bills need to be paid. Life gets in the way and yes, life provides new ideas. I am willing to adjust my plans and I am willing to try new things, but my goals will not change.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of having a direction for your writing. Decide what is important to you and then draw up that plan. If something isn’t working then try something else. If something is working then for goodness sake keep pounding it for all it is worth.
Above all, do not give up! If this is your passion then follow that passion through hell and high water.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”