Crafting a writing plan

Every year or quarterly if you are an extremely hardcore writer, you should take some time to engage in the careful crafting of a writing plan. My preferred method of doing this is to imagine a 5-year writing trajectory and working from that far out start to consider what things you should be writing 5 years from now. Begin by just jotting down some titles or subjects of work that belongs that far out in terms of consideration and writing. Maybe you started by getting a sheet of paper out and drawing 4 vertical lines to create columns for the years. Right now, you would have written a few things into the year 5 column, and you should start working on what would be contained in the year 4 bucket of future writing.

As you begin to populate some things into the year 3 buckets this is where things are going to get interesting. I generally find that the things that get bucketed into years 4 or 5 are not things I want to immediately sit down and write about or consider. This exercise is already creating an order of writing that pushes the things that need to be pushed out and helps focus my attention on the things that most need my attention right now. Things that are being bucketed into years 2 and 3 are going to be just on the edge of needing that attention but could be deferred until later. You probably already are considering that you are going to have to be absolutely and completely ruthless about what makes it into the current year of writing. These are things that hopefully you are either most passionate about or most desperately need coverage.

At this point in this writing plan creation project, you should have five years of potential writing work sketched out on a single page or maybe in a document of some sort. The most important part is after you get that first draft done. You have to take a moment and consider if anything got missed or was left off as part of self-censorship or for some other reason. Within this step of the process, I might dust off my writing backlog and see if anything from that list needs to be pulled up into this higher order view of my future writing. A writing plan cannot be so zoomed in that it replaces your backlog that is a foolish effort. This is more a directional effort to sum up where your writing is going over the next few years and it should really be targeted at being a plan that can be modified and updated as necessary.

You now have a very powerful vision of what your writing plan might be for the next years. That is a wonderful place to begin considering if that first effort was directionally correct or if major changes need to be made. You should be thankful if you realize after making a first draft that changes is needed. You really don’t want a false start at the start of executing a writing plan. Measuring the adherence to a writing plan is pretty easy to achieve on a quarterly basis. After three months if nothing on the writing plan is being worked on and no progress is being made this is actually a very important indicator that the writing plan did not focus you on things that care about writing. A wonderful plan of things you will never write is truly not very helpful.

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