What is your writing plan for 2012? Have you figured it out or are you still in the throes of deciding? For those of you who have figured it out, have you written it down so you can see it daily? Regardless of where you are in the decision-making process, following are five tips to help you put your plan into action.
1. What would you like to write?
This is by far the most important consideration of your writing life. Just because you can write various genres, doesn’t mean you should. Initially, go after the topics and genres that interest you most. When I first ventured into freelance journalism, my mentor asked me what I liked to write. I listed about 10 things. She then asked me again in an attempt to further narrow my interests. When that was done, I had five topics and was ready to move forward.
For seasoned scribes, consider adding new types of writing to your resume. If there is a genre you have been considering but never pursued, give it a try. Take an inexpensive class to see if you like it. If you like it, great; if not, chock it up as a small investment in education.
2. What are your writing goals? Be as specific as possible, and make them measurable. Most importantly, be realistic.
Assume you want to earn $30,000 this year. You must map a plan to do it.
• Are you going to write for magazines, trade publications, and online magazines?
• How many articles or stories do you need to write to attain your financial goals?
• Are you writing the next great masterpiece which will take at least six months to complete? How are you going to sustain yourself in the meantime?
• Which type of business, publication or industry will you be serving?
These are all things you need to consider when setting your goals.
3. Who is your audience?
This gets interesting. One topic can appeal to a several audiences in a variety of industries. Don’t limit yourself and be open. Let’s say you have a great passion for apples. This one subject can appeal to other apple enthusiasts, parents, children, health professionals, teachers, apple growers, organic food specialists and even public official if they knew how they could profit from them. You could write for all of these groups or just a couple.
As a business writer, you may be a specialist in certain genres or topics. If business proposals are what you do best, be sure to find those organizations that will use your services on a consistent basis. As a subject matter expert, you have to find those publications and industries that can use your expertise.
4. How do you reach those people?
Research. Find those sources that will lead you to those audiences you wish to serve. The Writer’s Market series is by far the most comprehensive series I have seen. Google, social networks, the websites of individual publications, and the library and local book stores are other great sources.
5. What are you going to do if your work is rejected?
Yes, this is a reality and it needs to be part of your plan. Everyone is not going to accept your work, and the reasons will vary. But you have to have a plan in place for such occurrences. Regardless of what happens – DO NOT STOP! Contact the editor for feedback and use those recommendations to improve future submissions. Also, consider other publications and industries that could benefit from your piece.
Now that you have tips for your writing plan, it’s time to write it if you haven’t done so already. Although you can begin your freelance writing journey without a strategy, your writing life would be a little easier with one. At least write your goals so you can post them where you see them daily. This will keep you on point; it’s great for brainstorming new ideas; and it will allow you to see more opportunities.
To Your Writing Success!!