Wednesday, 2 January 2019
Making a writing plan for 2019 by Lucy Rycroft
This time last year I was excited and apprehensive.
An unexpected freelance writing job had come my way at the tail-end of 2017, motivating me to 'look into' writing as a possible future career. I had Christmas to pray and think through my battle-plan, and share it excitedly with friends and family, so that when January 1st hit I was R.E.A.D.Y.
I registered as 'self-employed' with HMRC, joined the ACW, and began the process of subscribing to a couple of magazines to which I hoped to submit articles.
It was an exciting time, but also a little unclear: which avenues should I go down? What sort of writing should I be doing? Which publishers should I submit to? There was so much to learn!
As 2018 wore on, I got a good idea of which doors were opening, and which weren't. I ended the year with a clearer plan of where 2019 should be going, at the very least, although I'll still readily admit I can't see much further than that.
This brings me to the topic of making a 'writing plan'. Do you have one? Does the thought of making one bring you out in a cold sweat?
It's a tough call: on the one hand (like me, this time last year), we may not have a clear idea where the following year is going to go, writing-wise. But, on the other, it does help to have an idea of where we want to start.
Last year, my writing plan was very simple: Push some doors - see where they lead. I had a couple of magazines to try, some voluntary work experience to pursue, two book ideas to try and sell to publishers, and a blog which definitely needed pimping.
This year, now I know what's working and what isn't, my writing plan is a little more detailed:
* Publish two books
* Write once a month for each of my freelance jobs
* Continue growing my blog and email list
* Write at least one online resource for my blog
That's the skeletal version - there's a little more to it in real life.
For example, one way I'm planning to grow and develop my blog is by using a blog calendar. Up till now I've written what I've wanted, when I've wanted. It's led to a confused schedule, with lots of posts one week and none the next. It's also got me pretty stressed out at times, when I realise I've over-committed on book reviews and need to deliver four in as many weeks.
So I now have a huge year planner on my wall, and I'm writing things as they come to me. A blog tour for a book. A promotion for a resource to which I've contributed. Mother's Day/Father's Day/Christian festivals (all potentially 'rich' times for reaching out to my target audience).
If you don't have a plan for your writing this year, may I encourage you to take an hour, and a notebook, and jot down some ideas? Some of the following questions may prove useful (don't try to answer them all!):
* What am I already doing with my writing that I want to continue doing?
* Do I want to increase what I'm already doing? If so, how will I do that?
* How am I going to improve my writing this year?
* What new thing do I want to achieve with my writing this year?
* Who do I need to write/speak to, to make this happen?
* Where do I want to be in a year's time?
* Who/what will I need in order to get there?
* Which unfinished project needs my time and attention this year?
* Which 'going-nowhere' project needs to be scrapped?
...and I'm sure you can think of more!
It's so important to have a vague plan for our writing, particularly if we're attempting to make our living from it. But may I suggest that there's a plan which is even more important to make for 2019?
It's our spiritual plan. If we are to be effective Christian writers then our priority must be to draw closer to God, fall more in love with Jesus, and linger more deeply in His Word during 2019.
What plan are you putting in place to move forward in your relationship with God this year?
For me, I can't wait to get started with a new devotional book that has come highly recommended. I'm also going to aim to meet more regularly with my prayer triplet: two wonderfully wise Christian friends who tell me when I'm being an idiot. (Everyone needs a friend who can perform this function for them.)
I'm also looking forward to a new Christian parenting course that my housegroup will be studying in January/February. And I'm excited at the prospect of serving at church through increased opportunities to lead worship.
These 'habits' will ensure there's space in my day to listen to God speak. And His words will inform my writing. Imagine how God will use you this year, if you let Him teach you new things - it's so exciting, thinking of all the people God will reach through your writing!
Ultimately, we may make our writing plans or resolutions - but if they haven't come from God then we may find ourselves foiled. Instead, let us plan to draw closer to Him this year - then He can inform us what our plans should be.
Lucy Rycroft is a planning geek. She writes shopping lists, meal plans, to-do lists, packing lists, schedules, reminders, ideas for kids' activities, and pretty much anything that might give her the illusion of control.
In other news, her life is controlled by four tiny people and their Kardashian-esque social calendar.
When it all gets too much, Lucy locks herself in a room and writes for her Desertmum blog, or the Home for Good website, or for a couple of strangers she eventually hopes to refer to proudly as 'her publishers'.