We’re discussing writing plans in the creative writing class I teach, and I worked up this questionnaire to get my students thinking more carefully about just what it is they’re after as writers.
The Writing Plan
Whether you’re after literary fame and fortune, want to see your byline in a newspaper, or are simply hoping to establish a satisfying personal writing routine, setting down your realistic intentions on paper is key. We can take a cue from a famous business maxim:
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”
Five questions to help you work out a plan:
• What are my (tangible and intangible) long-term writing goals and how do the complement/contradict each other?
• What small actions can I take on a weekly basis to help me achieve them?
• How can I measure my progress, and how often should I measure it?
• What is likely to make success difficult and how will I overcome these roadblocks?
• A year from now, what would success look like to me?
And now, to help you ponder, a few thoughts from a very wise writer:
“What separates writers from those who want to be writers? Writing.
What encourages consistency in writing practice? A plan.
Any writer who has stuck with writing likely has a plan. It might not be one fully formed and articulated on paper, but a plan’s a plan, no matter what form it ends up taking. When you get to the end of any structured writing experience—a class, a critique group, a weeklong conference—it is always a good idea to take a moment to think about what you will do next.
Writing is an activity that doesn’t have inherent deadlines and a focused structure, so it is your job to take the time to create a structure and set your own expectations and intentions. If you have set goals or intentions for yourself in the past, now is a good time to see how much closer you are to meeting those goals or how much you have followed through on your intentions. Finding out that you have largely forgotten about them is a great wake up call, and a nice excuse to create a better, less avoidable plan of action for the future. On the other hand, finding out that you have met some goals you made gives you an opportunity to see how you can meet even more in.”
-From “The Craft of a Plan” by Brandi Reissenweber