Where do you want to be in five years? Five months? Five days?
Those who have a plan are more apt to reach their destination than those who don’t.
If we live our lives like Mosey, the Meandering Mouse, we’re apt to go nowhere fast. Days turn into weeks, which turn into years, and we have little to show for them.
A tendency to meander is one of Twelve Troublemakers that plagues me as a writer. I’m exploring one a week. This is the fifth in the series.
I spent four decades dreaming of being a writer. I had no shortage of reasons why I couldn’t pursue my dream. I was a student, a wife, a mother.
So what? So are many published authors. One thing was certain. If I didn’t try, I wouldn’t succeed. Therefore, I stopped meandering and started moving forward.
When I began writing I knew I had a great deal to learn about crafting a marketable story. Because I had experience working as an assistant editor in a publishing house I knew launching a career as a writer involves three things: talent, training, and time.
I like to think I had some talent. Everyone does. I knew, though, that I didn’t have the training I would need. A degree in journalism doesn’t exactly qualify one to write novels. I’d always been an eager student, and I could learn.
When it came to time, I had more than most. Our daughter was in high school, and my days as a classroom volunteer had drawn to a close. I didn’t work outside the home, so I had several hours a day to devote to my writing.
There was nothing to hold me back. It was time to devise a plan and pursue it.
Four Steps to Devising a Workable Plan
Make sure your goal is clearly defined. ~ Publication of a novel by a major Christian publishing house was my primary goal, albeit one I felt was rather lofty. However, I decided not to allow fear to keep me from pursuing my long time dream. If I wanted to be published, I needed to take steps to make it happen.
Make sure your goal is realistic. ~ Getting a contract isn’t something a writer has much control over. Even those with exceptional manuscripts are passed over for reasons that have nothing to do with their ability. Therefore, my goal wasn’t to sell a book by a certain date. My goals involved things under my control.
Make sure your goal is measurable. ~ I set an initial goal of starting—and finishing—a manuscript in a year. Once I’d done that, I set new goals: complete another manuscript, enter a contest, read a craft book. I specified a time frame for each one.
Make sure you’re passionate about your goal. ~ Often things we want the most require considerable effort. That’s certainly true if publication is your goal. Pursing a goal that takes a great deal of work requires commitment. We have to want to read the goal badly enough to do what’s necessary to reach it. That’s where passion comes in. It will sustain us through the hills and valleys we’ll encounter en route to our goal.
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Your Thoughts . . . and a Drawing
What goal(s) are you working toward?
What steps do you take when establishing goals?
How do you stay motivated when a goal requires a long-term commitment?
One person who leaves a comment and answers one of these questions will win the mouse pictured above. If you don’t have a use for this cute little Folkmanis finger puppet, you could always share it with a child or grandchild. Plus, I’ll add a surprise for you.
I’ll hold the drawing Sunday, March 13th and post the winner’s name in the post published the next day, when I’ll introduce the next of the Twelve Troublemakers.
Eagle Eye the Internal Editor from last Monday’s drawing went to Julie Nilson.