Planning a Writer’s Year

Planning a Writer’s Year
December 28, 2015 4 Comments Writing Advice Nancy E Miller

               There is little in a writer’s life that moves quickly except the calendar when we have a deadline.  Words may come slowly, edits creep along, but those days on the calendar just fly by.  Before we realize, another year is gone.  At my age I start to wonder how many more years I dare procrastinate. 

                A writer’s plan needs to include not only what they want to achieve but also the proper timeframes to accomplish the task.  I never realized how long it took for an editor to go over my book.  Then, once it comes back, there are rewrites and another check.  So I may be looking at another six months before I start submitting to agents.  In the meantime, there is another project in the works and several in the wings.  It really does take a plan to make sure you fulfill commitments. 

                Do your research.  Magazines, and seasonal items like greeting cards, are dependent on timing their content for specific months or occasions.  I’ve seen six to eight month deadlines prior to publication so that they can decide, edit, and make mock ups of future issues.  Who knew they worked on Christmas 2015 back in May? 

                But the fact is, if you have a Christmas story, or a Valentines tale, or even a salute to the Fourth of July, you need to have those stories in for consideration six months in advance.  These people don’t mess around.  You snooze, you lose, and it’s another year before you can submit the piece.    

                It was when I was asked to come up with my Writer’s New Year Plans/Resolutions that I started to realize there really was work to be done.  While I had a vague plan up in my head, it was always subject to procrastination.  Sometimes we aren’t even responsible for delays in our writing.   In my case, I’ve been sick since before Thanksgiving and just not up to pumping out more than a few paragraphs.  I’m fine now and, as you can see, back to writing but these things just can’t be helped. 

                It’s just we never know what life will throw at us so we need to have a plan for what we want to do and when.  Schedule it on the calendar like an appointment.  If you hear of a contest you want to enter, make a notation not only of the entry deadline but the date you need to start the project and the interim details like editing.  That deadline will sneak up on you. 

                Make sure on that calendar that you include your life.  Family events, birthdays, anniversaries, class reunions need to be worked around and deserve your full attention. 

                So what happens if you get that sudden call from a friend that wants to get together?  Depends on many factors but that’s life.  Interruptions, good and bad, occur.   We can’t foresee them but we can allow extra time so that, when they occur, they don’t throw off the whole schedule.  It’s not like we have to control every second of every day, but sometimes you do end up saying no. 

                And remember to have fun.  Being a writer does contain a certain amount of drudgery but it shouldn’t drag you down.  If you end up hating it, what good is it?

                So, in closing, Happy New Year and May all your hard work pay off in the rewards we all seek: Validation and Respect of our peers.    For it is with those two, we become energized and continue on our path to being published and successful authors. 

               

               

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Nancy E Miller Nancy E. Miller, romantic suspense author of Shark Bait and Crystal Unicorns, lives near St. Louis with her husband and three dogs, pygmy goats, chickens and a cranky rooster named Ketchup. Her degree is in Psychology and Sociology. She has worked in education and mental health as a case manager and crisis counselor.
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  1. 4 Comments

    nicholas yearwood

    I like writing about my life and eventually new people and children

    Reply
  2. 4 Comments

    Adan Ramie

    Some great advice, Nancy. I only realized I should have been planning out these holiday pieces months in advance once Thanksgiving hit and I remembered that holidays existed. It’s amazing how much you can forget when you’re working on a big project like a novel. I think it’s worth writing a piece during the holiday when the spirit moves you, and keeping it in a folder for sending out in the next year. That’s what I’m planning to do, at least! Thanks for the reminder that I need to get that started, instead of putting it off like another New Year’s Resolution gone bad!

    Reply
  3. 4 Comments

    One simple trick to overcome chaos in your writing life - Our Write Side

    […] are a lot more flexible from day to day. There are lots of great articles on this subject, such as this one by Nancy Miller that discusses scheduling your writing life through the year or this one from Writer’s Digest […]

    Reply
  4. 4 Comments

    Special Feature: How to Manage a Project (for Creative Types) by Tyler Omichinski - Our Write Side

    […] doesn’t mean to throw your hands up and use it as an excuse not to plan, but rather that you need it to help you figure out what to do when things go […]

    Reply

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