1. First decide exactly what it is you want to do. Be it to write a novel, publish a story in a magazine or self-publish a collection of your poems. Until you know what you want to achieve, you cannot make a plan. If you want to do several things, prioritise and do one thing at a time.
2. Do some research to help you work out what you need to do. If writing a novel, you may need to find out how to format a manuscript, or go on some creative writing courses about characters, plot etc. If you want to publish a story in a magazine, you need to download their guidelines and read some copies of your target magazines to get a feel for the things they accept.
3. When you have a fair idea of what needs doing, set yourself some goals. Don’t make them too ambitious. Lots of small goals are more achievable than one big one. Here are some examples:
To write a first full draft of a novel by the end of the year…
To get one short story published in a magazine within 8 months…
To write 20 good poems by……
Once you have your main goals, make further little ones – daily or weekly ones – to assist you in reaching your targets. A good idea is to print one of the many free A4 year planners from the internet and put in your main targets and highlight them in a colour and then add your other goals. Be flexible and don’t beat yourself up if things change, but if you don’t have any goals or make any plans, there is always an excuse for not writing.
4. Think about your stories and do a rough outline of your beginning, middle and end so you are ready to start writing. It may well change as you get stuck into it, but it gives you some direction.
5. Make time for writing. This is important. Mark on your planner that spare hour you have between 6pm and 7pm (or whatever) and do it. If you list it on your planner, you are more likely to do it. As writers, we can always find an excuse not to write – it’s not a proper job anyway or there’s no employer paying my wages or some job in the house needs doing first.
If you would like to read more about writing and time management you can see my guest posts by clicking on the links below:
Part 1 I want to write a novel but… Reasons for Not Writing
Part 2 I want to write a novel but… Time management
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