"" Rob Parnell's Writing Academy Blog: Life Planning for Writers

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Life Planning for Writers

Dear Fellow Writer,

I hope you're well and happy. This week we continue our look at goal-setting for writers and how to design your future writing life.

A cherished student asked me during the week to explain how word count translates to pages in a book. It varies of course but a book page can be anything from 250 to 350 words, depending on the formatting.

So that, if you're writing 2000 words a day, that will end up being the equivalent of six to eight pages of a novel. 

Doesn't sound like much when you put it like that!

In case you've been following, I'm up to 54,000 on the first draft of my latest novel - and that's taken me around five weeks to complete.
Click HERE to find discover my Amazon books.
Keep writing! 

Creating a Life-Plan for Writers

Creating a Life Plan for Writers

It's important that you see writing success as a process rather than something that happens in a flash or overnight. In the same way that writing a book takes time, sometimes a long time, so too does the process of getting your books and writing out there and selling - if only because other factors are involved over which you may have little control.

The good news is that all this is changing. Writers have far more control over their destinies - especially online - than they used to. In the old days, authors might have to wait literally years for publishers, agents, editors and periodical owners to respond and act before a writer's work might see the light of day.

These days, writers are only a blog post away from speaking directly to their readers, and selling their next book as an instant digital download, a wonderful thing, though I suspect not all traditional publishers would agree.

Planning Your Future

It's often said that we tend to overestimate what we can do in a year. But that we completely underestimate what we can do in a decade.

Having been a musician for much of my life I've noticed that many pop-star's careers can begin, bloom, explode and then crumble in the space of five to ten years. Three hit singles and you're the alternative to sliced bread. Then, just a few years later, you're working in a shoe shop, wondering what happened. I often wonder what happens to all the old pop-stars… I mean, do they all simply stop playing music?

Clearly luck plays a large part in achieving success. However, I believe that we make our own luck by creating circumstances whereby we are in the right place at the right time, something that wouldn't happen without conscious action on our part.

To me, success is one percent luck and ninety nine percent preparation. Because, without preparation, there's no way you'll be in a position to exploit the luck when it comes along.

Small Steps, Big Dreams

There's nothing worse than having a whole bunch of goals that you can achieve quickly and easily. Here's a mantra you should use regularly:

I need bigger dreams!

Because once you get the hang of working on goals and dreams on a regular basis, you'll notice that it's not actually that hard to get what you want. Anyone who puts in consistent action towards a specific goal can achieve their heart's desire without too much stress because that's the kind of universe we live in.

What you don't want to do is to aim too low. For two reasons.

1. You don't want your subconscious to believe that you will be happy with only a slight change of circumstance

2. You'll have to keep stopping and planning to achieve bigger goals every two to three months

Therefore your next life plan needs to be compelling enough to drive you for a long time - but also realistic enough for you to feel comfortable with it.

Let's begin.

To recap: Make a list of all the ways you want to make money writing in the future. Add notes about how you feel about each of these activities.

Let your mind mull over the kind of life you will need to be living to give yourself the time and motivation to do the work you envisage on a daily basis. 

How does this make you feel? Inspired? Or fearful? Does it seem real, distant, or absolutely impossible? Bear in mind that much of what you believe is possible is based on your preconceptions: the things you've learned, true or false, during your lifetime. And remember that not everything you believe is true for everyone else.

Often we limit ourselves because our belief system won't allow us to expand our horizons. Put limiting beliefs on hold for a while - and start to dream BIG! 

Answer the following three questions when you feel ready.

1.  What do you want, more than anything? (Your one big goal)

2. Why do you want that? (Make a list of reasons)

3. What would happen if you never got what you wanted? (Be specific)

Use a notebook to answer these questions. Write about a page full of responses to each question. Explore your mind for answers. Try to zone in on what really motivates you to succeed at your chosen 'big goal'.

Don't be too vague.
For instance, you may have a goal to become a bestselling author. Fine. But go further and ask yourself why you want that. For what purpose? To have fame and riches. Fine. But why do you want that? To be happy. Good. Go further. Why would that make you happy? What exactly about fame would make you content? Just recognition? Or adoration? Why do you need that? Is it ego-based or because fame can be useful? Be specific about exactly what kind of fame you would want - and why.

Similarly, exactly how much money would make you happy? It's tempting to say millions. But if so, what would you do with all that cash? Save it, invest it, leave it to your children, fund charities? Again, be specific. Why do you need all that money? What would you use it for? Buying more things, looking good, travelling, investing in creative projects, feeding the homeless?

Focus on who you are and what you really want. Imagine being the person you'd be if you were rich and famous. How would you feel? How would you act? What would you do? How would you conduct yourself, and live from day to day? 

When it comes to listing the things that might happen if you don't achieve your goals, go deep too. If you suspect you might feel like a failure if you don’t achieve your goals, ask yourself why. What exactly does failure mean to you? How would it feel? Why would it hurt? 

Perhaps you suspect that not much would change if you didn't achieve your goals. Why would that be? Would it really matter? What would you still have? List the positives as well as the negatives.

You'll be surprised how much you can learn about yourself - and perhaps discover what really motivates you - by doing this simple self-examination exercise.

Till next time,

Keep Writing!

Rob Parnell

Click on any of the covers to find out more!

No comments:

The Writing Academy

Welcome to the official blog of Rob Parnell's Writing Academy, updated weekly - sometimes more often!