Rebecca Waters left her position as a professor of teacher education in December 2012 to actively pursue her writing career. She shares her writing journey in her weekly blog, A Novel Creation. Rebecca has published several freelance articles including two submissions in the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Standard Publishing’s Lookout Magazine, The Christian Communicator, Church Libraries, and Home Health Aide Digest. Rebecca’s debut novel, Breathing on Her Own, was released by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
To learn more about Rebecca or to read A Novel Creation, visit her website at www.WatersWords.com
by Rebecca Waters
You’re a writer. Or you want to be one. It doesn’t matter if you have written a short story for your high school newspaper, a novel, or a blog. Something inside tells you to write. And if you have a desire to share your work with other readers, you are diving into the business of writing. The question becomes “What do you want from your writing?”
Do you want a career to financially support you and your family?
Do you want to be famous?
Do you want to write fiction or nonfiction?
Do you want to write novels, short stories, screenplays or poetry?
Do you want to write a blog?
And as if that isn’t enough, ask yourself these questions:
Who is your audience?
Do you want to self-publish or be traditionally published?
What do you already know about writing?
Answering these questions will address how you view your work as a writer.
And, by the way, don’t be distraught if you find yourself wanting to do it all! I think there are many of us out there.
A business plan for writers:
There are several types of business plans. Some plans are drafted as personal plans while others are developed for corporations. The purpose of some business plans is to secure investors while others inform stakeholders of the growth development and future plans of the organization. Who are your investors? Who are your stakeholders? Your publisher, your agent, your readers. As you move forward in your new business (writing), you need a business plan.
1) A business plan helps you keep focus on your mission.
2) A business plan guides you to “the next step” when you feel uncertain.
3) A business plan reminds you of your objectives and how to reach them.
4) A business plan helps you evaluate the value writing tools being advertised by others.
In short, a business plan will help you reach your goal: to write.
For this post, I’m going to briefly discuss three major elements to developing your business plan: Identifying and addressing your strengths and weaknesses, drafting a mission statement, and setting attainable goals and objectives.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The first step in drafting your business plan is to identify your own strengths and weaknesses. We all have them.
This requires some thoughtful self-examination. For example, I initially identified my weakness in understanding and engaging in social media networks. Since research is one of my strengths, I created a plan that included learning everything I could about Facebook and Twitter. Eventually, I set up a Twitter account and launched an author page on Facebook.
After you’ve identified your strengths and weaknesses, you’ll want to list ways you can build on your strengths and address your weaknesses. Is technology your strength but you have trouble with “show don’t tell?” Learn what you can online, or sign up for a webinar.
Now you’re ready to draft a mission statement. This statement reflects who you want to be as a writer. Think about how you want others to describe you as a writer. Consider your core values. Is it your mission to write murder mysteries? Great. But what if a potential publisher wants you to include vulgar language and steamy sex scenes and these happen to go against your core values? Your mission statement will help you stay true to yourself. Another way to approach this is to think about how you want others to describe you as a writer. “She writes great Christian fiction.” Or “I love to read his suspense novels. They’re hard to put down and they’re good clean reading.”
Goals and Objectives
The final step we’ll discuss in this post is to set goals and objectives for your writing.
You will want to write out a few long-range goals as well as smaller, short term objectives. Try to be specific and make sure your goals are attainable. Setting a goal to write a novel in the next three months is reasonable for me. If I were still teaching full time though, I would need to extend that time frame. A short-term objective to reach that goal is to write 1000 words a day. Get the idea?
Be careful to not write out too many goals or objectives. You will feel overwhelmed. I suggest developing three long-range goals and two objectives for each goal.
Putting it Together
Once you’ve worked through these elements, put them together in a way that is meaningful for you. For example, in my plan I put my mission statement first. I follow that up with my goals and objectives. I then list my strengths and weaknesses and my plan for them to make me a better writer.
I’ve already shared how you can use your plan to keep you moving in the right direction, but you may be wondering if anyone else will ever see your plan. That’s up to you, but I’m pretty sure a publisher or agent is likely to want to work with someone with a clear vision for the business of writing.
Molly Tipton and her husband are looking forward to retirement, but Molly’s life suddenly spirals out of control when her oldest daughter is involved in a terrible accident. An icy road and a sharp turn leave one woman dead, another clinging to life.
While two families grieve, details emerge that reveal Molly’s daughter was driving under the influence. As she prepares her daughter for the prospect of a vehicular homicide lawsuit, Molly discovers her oldest child is not the only one injured and forced to deal with past mistakes.
If it’s true that time heals all wounds, what are we to do with our scars?
Purchase it in paperback or on Kindle here.