How to Make a Plan When Starting Your Career as a Writer

Why planning your writing career.

If you are serious about becoming a writer and you are just starting, career planning is one of the most useful processes to consider

The self-evaluation & planning of your writing journey helps you to stay focus, understand your capabilities as well as potential drawbacks. This way you can have the greatest influence over your career.

Simply said: A career plan will help you identify where you are as a writer, where you want to be, and how to get there.

Of course, a person’s career is shaped by many factors, e.g. experience, education, performance, family. Even so, you can gain control over it.

But the beauty of a writing career is that you may have a better influence over shaping your career direction. This is because many writers may deal independently with how they select and fulfill their writing assignments.

. . .

5 Steps to an Effective Writing Career Plan.

#1: Self-Evaluation

Begin by setting aside time to evaluate yourself. This way, you commit to having an accurate understanding of yourself first.

You can start by answering the questions about your personality, values, and preferences.

  • What motivates me when I think of a writing career?
  • What type of writing do I enjoy?
  • What is important for me and how does this fit together with a writing career?
  • What are my lifestyle priorities? May these other priorities affect my writing?
  • What are the three key things I am looking for in my work? How does writing relate to those things?
  • What would your previous supervisor, family members, or friends say Your greatest strength and weakness are?

#2: Skills Analysis

Analyzing your existing skills is an important step that can help you identify early on what are your strong points and what you can improve.

It is great to know what are your strengths are so you can build on them.

Identifying the areas where you think you fall short is a great opportunity also. Use it when designing your plan and decide how to act further! Mitigation of those shortcomings can be done by designing separately a learning plan.

Identifying the writing direction in which you could head is also important. First, you need to evaluate what writing skills you currently have. Grammar, spelling, punctuation, writing style, referencing — all are critical skills to a writer’s success.

You can then reflect on your skillset by using the following set of questions:

  • Which of the above writing skills am I great at and which ones I need to improve? Am I willing to learn and improve on them?
  • What are my key strengths as a writer?
  • What qualifications and experience do I have?
  • Which portable skills I have I have and I can use in my writing career?

Hot Tip: Learn early how to use the feedback to your advantage!

Criticism is an essential part of your learning process and development as a writer. Growing as a writer is largely dependent on your ability to learn from past mistakes and to improve drafts in response to readers’ comments.

#3: Setting a Direction

Based on the answers to the above questions, you can now start to formulate ideas on the type of writing /industries that will suit you best.

Here are some of the options you may take into consideration:

  • Fiction, Short Stories, Novels, Scripts
  • Non-Fiction, Journalism, True Crime, Biography
  • Content Creators
  • Marketing and Advertising, Technical Writers

A writer should have one main area of writing that specializes in. You can choose more than one writing type, of course, but the idea is to explore one to specialize in, at least at the beginning.

Think about:

  • Which type of writing matches your personal preferences? The writer’s style is the quality that will make your writing unique.
  • Which key skills need particular development to address the type of writer I choose to be?
  • How does your voice sound?

The voice of a writer refers to your writing style, choice of words, point of view that makes your stories captivating and inspiring to the readers.

Considering that your voice is your secret ingredient, do you know which one is yours?

#4: Committing to a Timeframe

Now that you have set the direction and you know where you want to go, you need to work out how do you get there.

It is time to set some manageable milestones for your career plan and break down your writer career goals into smaller bits.

You can ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much time I am willing to allocate to my writing — how many hours per day or week?
  • What do I want to achieve within the first month and the first year?
  • How I would measure achievements within the first three, six, twelve, months?
  • How and when I plan to gain the additional skills and experience I need for my writing career?
  • How can build my writing network?
  • Where do I turn for advice, feedback, and ideas for my writing?
  • How and when will I achieve my ongoing writing education goals?

#5: Re-evaluating the Career Plan

Reviewing periodically your career plan makes you disciplined by following up on your writing goals. A periodical review of your plan keeps you aware of your progress and also keeps you accountable for whatever actions you establish.

This step is as important as the other four. It’s great that it allows you to make adjustments as you go.

You can adjust your plan considering the results obtained so far, take into account the obstacles that you encounter and changes that may occur.

You may have personal circumstances that could derail your efforts from the plan. Try to accommodate all as much as possible.

The clear pathway which you set may need small adjustments, so it remains achievable.

To be more flexible with yourself is always great, but remaining focused on your goals is key to achieving them.

Being ambitious is fine, however, make sure as well that the goals you set for yourselves are not too high.

By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you hit the balance you need to keep you motivated.

You need to keep re-evaluating the plan to periodically assess your progress. Measuring your progress and being disciplined in sticking to the plan has a major role in pushing you towards your goal.

It is a simple plan, however, planning requires thinking, ongoing exploration, and energy. We can consider the words of Eleanor Roosevelt advise:

It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.

Of course, a writer can have achievements without building such a plan. However, having one will make it much easier for you. Setting clear priorities and realistic expectations from the start will likely ease disappointment, frustrations, and hardship in the future.

This post was previously published on Change Becomes You and is republished here with permission from the author.


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