Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Making plans

"In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?" That's this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question.

I'm going to answer by going back in time to when I first learned I might be offered a redundancy package from my last job. At the time I thought very carefully about the future and decided I wanted to write full-time. 

I felt that with more writing time I probably could sell more stories to magazines, but knew that alone wouldn't be enough. I'd need to sell articles and books too. Again I was confident about the writing part, but less sure I'd find buyers. I took the risk.

Back then I'd had one novel and around 200 stories published, plus won a few competitions, in the ten years I'd been writing. That was four years ago. 

Now my story sales are more than double that, I've sold numerous articles on writing, won or been placed in competitions and published three more novels, four story collections and co-authored a book on writing. I am a full-time writer.

Mostly I'm telling you all this to brag and hopefully convince you to buy the book. But partly it's to prove that if we know what we hope to achieve, work out how we might get there and then work hard to make it a reality, there is the possibility of success.

Back to the original question - "In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?"

26 comments:

  1. Well done for moving on with your writing career so well, Patsy - all success to the next five years!

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  2. You've planned your career well and been very successful!

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    1. I've tried, Alex. There's room for improvement though.

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  3. Well done for everything you've achieved. It's easy to think luck is involved (and occasionally a bit does help us along) but we all know there's a lot of hard work involved to reach those achievements.

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    1. Luck does play a part, but we have to write the story before we can get lucky with it.

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  4. Wow. You're a publishing and writing force, Patsy!

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  5. You have done well! It must have helped your decision to know that you already had so many stories published.

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    1. It helped a bit, Liz but it had taken 10 years to sell that many and there was no guarantee I'd sell more.

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  6. That's a good way to go "where do you see yourself ... and how to plan to get there"
    As I am a lot older than you, maybe I'll adjust the time frame!

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    1. Short term plans are as important as long term ones, I think, Linda. We need to tackle a few things at a time.

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  7. That's awesome, Patsy! I love that you took what many people would see as a crisis and turned it into an opportunity to live your dream.

    You're an inspiration.

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    1. I suspect a lot of us need that kind of push to take the next step, JH.

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  8. Well done, Patsy - here's to the next five years - and the next!

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    1. Thanks, Teresa! Yes, I need to keep at it.

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  9. I wonder if I might throw the answer back to you, and respectfully ask if you had had a five-year-plan when you embarked on this delightful career? I ask that, because in our vocation, 5 years seems a hell of a lot longer than say, a salesman who can plot sales targets throughout the 20 quarterly periods.
    I too, write full-time, but at present my limited income is subsidised by savings. But I have backed myself; an ingredient we both share! To answer your question I do not have a five-year-plan. I do, however, have one for two years, and that comprises 6-monthly novel releases and promoting my range of Romance and Valentine's cards.
    For me, I prefer the smaller chunks; two years is manageable, five years? A distant dream. That is not a criticism, because we all know that some of the most successful entrepreneurs have been 'dreamers'!

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    1. Hi PET,

      I had a plan in the sense that I knew roughly what I wanted to achieve and was prepared to work towards making that possible. It wasn't detailed or S.M.A.R.T. We can't predict success with any certainty, but if we hope to sell 100 stories then we can at least make it theoretically possible by writing and submitting at least that many.

      My monthly plans are far more detailed. Again they focus on what I'll do, not the results which I can't control.

      For the next five years my overall plan will be more detailed and specific.

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  10. Well done, Patsy! But it's interesting how may people are floored by that question. I used to ask it when I was a counsellor, and was as often as not met by blank looks of incredulity.

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    1. I read somewhere that if we don't know what we're aiming for we won't know when we've got there, Frances. I didn't want to make that mistake.

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  11. Hi Patsy - focusing on what you will do - is an excellent phrase ... and then keep on doing ... you've done really well, developed your own voice and found readers who enjoy your work.

    Now with Rosemary you've moved into 'how to ' genre ... very sensible move for you both - good luck and happy times ahead .. cheers Hilary

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    1. I try to only worry about what's within my control, Hilary.

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Thanks so much for commenting!