Wow, we’re in the home stretch of our discussion on the book, On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts!

Thank you to all who have hung in there for the long haul — I love hearing how you’ve been encouraged and challenged by this book and discussion group!

For a summary of themes we’ve already covered and links to previous posts, click here.

Next week is our final week. For today, we’re looking at Chapter 10: Plan.

 

Chapter(7)

 

Here’s the video for this chapter from co-authors Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig:

 

 

As Ann explains in the video, this chapter is about “how to be intentional about the next steps in our writing lives.”

I’ll admit, before I took over as host of Five Minute Friday in August of 2014, planning as it related to my blog was virtually non-existent. I don’t think I even knew how to schedule a post. I just wrote by the seat of my pants and clicked publish whenever I thought the words came out right.

I was exactly like the tumbleweed Ann describes in this chapter:

Hosting Five Minute Friday forced me to plan ahead enough to have a prompt, a post, and a link-up ready to go live every week at the same scheduled time.

Having this set in stone, so to speak, made me more aware of my calendar, and the days that were “left over” after allowing the weekly FMF post to run over the weekend. It basically left me with Monday through Wednesday for posting other content. These limitations have served as a great help to me when it comes to planning ahead. For the first time in years, I’m using phrases like editorial calendar. Ha!

Being a book reviewer for various publishers and serving on launch teams for author friends are another way I’ve created self-imposed deadlines that have forced me to plan ahead. If I request a book to review, I’m usually expected to read and review it by a specific date. This pushes me to plan ahead not only in my blogging, but in my free time to be able to finish reading the book in time.

Hosting this online discussion is another way I’ve made myself plan ahead. (Are you catching on to a theme here? I think I am …) Apparently I need to just go ahead and announce things that will force me to meet deadlines and readers’ expectations, such as 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes. Talk about a crash course in planning ahead!

This may sound funny, but I think as writers, we can learn something from the ants described in Proverbs 6:6-8 and 30:25. Ants are hard workers, and they store up their food in summer. In other words, they plan ahead for the dry seasons so they have plenty of supply.

I heard a sermon on this theme recently, and realized the truth applies to the writing as well.

As writers, we wear many hats. Many of us are wives, moms, and grandmothers. Some of us have jobs outside the home. My guess is that as much as we may like to, most of us don’t sit in a log cabin alone with uninterrupted writing time for hours on end.

As a result, we would do well to make use of the moments we can snatch.

As mentioned in the video, this ties in to the chapter on Arrange. When you find a few minutes, grab them. And when you’re looking ahead at your week and your month, schedule the time you need to meet the goals you’ve set for your writing life.

Follow Ann’s example and resist the tumbleweed effect:

What about you? What has helped (or forced) you to plan ahead in your own writing life? Can you relate to the tumbleweed illustration?

 

Here are some more link-up suggestions:

Write your own blog post or journal entry on one or more of the following topics: 

Are you an organized, long-term planner when it comes to your writing, or are you a bit more like a tumbleweed, rolling along with the wind? 

Share some of your writing goals, and the steps you need to take to achieve them. 

How has planning ahead served you well? 

What dreams do you have for your writing life? 

 

Come back next Monday and Wednesday as we look at the final two chapters of this book, Rest and Limit. Click here for a preview of questions we’ll consider from those themes.

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13 thoughts on “on being a writer :: plan {chapter 10}

  1. For me, this is one of the key processes I need to ‘nail down’ for me to be able to find the necessary time to dedicate to not only writing but – importantly – promotion. I’ve been doing some serious thinking about how to juggle everything I have on my plate to be able to make the necessary time and I definitely think I’ve managed to find something that, hopefully, will work for us (I very much appreciated the comment in the video about there needing to be ‘family-level’ planning in order for the ‘dream’ (of being a writer) to be realised. [I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: I can’t thank you all enough for the time and effort you have put in to this series: I think there’ll be more than one life’s course changed as a result of our participation in this series. Thank you].

    • Your comment illustrates how each of these habits affects and complements the others–I hope you find a way to continue arranging and rearranging, tweaking and fine-tuning, to create ways for your writing life to flourish. They’re called habits in part because we’ll keep practicing them, experimenting with them, and revisiting them as our writing lives evolve.

  2. I think we may all resist the planning stage because it means action. This is what has been the most helpful in this discussion group. Encouragement to act on our idea. Thank-you!

    • I was enjoying visiting the comments and saw your question. I hope you don’t mind if I offer a response? If you are writing something you are going to submit to a magazine, save that content and let them be the first to publish it. Most magazines and journals want to be the first place readers encounter a piece. Many will let the rights revert back to you after it’s been publishing, however, and you could then publish it as a series or however you like at your blog.

    • Hi Gabriele ~ I echo Ann’s response. Are you planning to submit the writing to a magazine (or magazines) in the future? If so, rather hold on to your work as Ann has suggested. If you’re just wondering about whether it would work to post a longer piece in stages on your blog, but you have no plans to have those words published elsewhere, then I think it would be fine to indicated “Part I,” “Part II,” etc. with a “To be continued” notation at the end of the unfinished posts. Good question! Thanks for asking!

  3. […] Today is the 11th in the series at Kate Motaung’s blog titled On Being a Writer by Anne Koeker and Charity Singleton Craig. The book is also available at the website. This is week six. She has links to all this information and earlier posts on her site. Here are the links to my earlier posts: Identify, Arrange, Surround, Notice, Write. Send, Promote, Discover, Engage, Plan. […]

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