How to Plan Your Writing (Career)

Emerging writers blog, THe Diary of an Emerging Writer, Plan for Writing, how to plan a writing career.
writing plans, making a writing plan, emerging writers, getting organised for writing.

This is me brainstorming

3rd September 2013 – It is time to start thinking about the coming year.  In just four weeks my next writing year begins.  I started writing or decided to start writing on the 22nd of September 2012.  Very soon it will be my anniversary.  Before I started to write last year I wrote down a couple of things I wanted to achieve before I started.  It was just a quick list on a scrap of paper.  I looked back over that list every now and again over the last year, to see how I was going.  This year, I am going to do a much better job of making a Plan for Writing.  This year I am going to dream bigger, be more adventurous, more impossible and more detailed with my plan for my next year of writing.

This morning I am going to spend hours looking over notes, newspaper articles and things I have tucked into old folders.  I’ll make  a calendar and brainstorm what I want to get out of my next year of writing.  I’ll write down crazy dreams that seem impossible alongside small goals I know I will achieve.

Why should you make a Plan for Writing?

“Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire.” Napoleon Hill

Having your goals and plans written down is one of the easiest steps you can take to make sure you achieve them.  The importance of making a Plan for Writing should not be underestimated.   It is much easier to get somewhere if you know where you are going.  Having a plan will give you direction and help motivate you towards to your next goal.  You will also feel more in control of your writing if you have set your own terms and made your own rules.  You will get to did decide how that career is going to look and feel.  Having a Plan for Writing gives you agency and keeps you in control.

Making a Plan for Writing also will give you the chance to make a Plan B, in case your intended goals turn out to be different to how you hoped.  When you have a Plan B, disappointments are easily managed and you can change your direction more easily.

What to include in your Plan for Writing?

Goalbook2“If you are failing to plan, you are planning to fail.” Tariq Siddique

You can include anything you think might be relevant for the year ahead; think of it like a business plan – A yearly forecast.  What would your business plan be if you had to write one?  What would you include?

I try to include everything I can possibly think of in my Plan for Writing.  I like to cover all the aspects of my writing practice, from daily word count goals to finishing a manuscript by a certain date.  I also like to make a plan about how my writing is going to fit in with the other areas of my life.  A priority check list is a great tool for reminding you what is important and what needs your attention first.  I have also started to plan out a bit of an education budget and a festival attendance plan – but I will get into that more later.

I keep all my plans, goals and notes for the future in two big diaries that sit on my writing desk, picture above.  I love having everything in one big book, but everyone is different.  Where should you keep your plan?  I’ll get to that later too.

Hopefully after finishing your Plan for Writing, you will have a good idea about what kind of writer you hope to be.  You may also uncover what is important to you as a writer.  This will come in handy when making decisions about your writing, as knowing what is important to you, will help you make decisions that fit into your bigger plan.

To get started on your own Plan for Writing, follow these links.

2. Where do I Start? Brain Storming your Plan for Writing
3. How do I put this all together?  Finalising your Plan for Writing

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7 Responses you might need as an Emerging Writer

The Emerging Writer, Writing, Defences

The Emerging Writer, Writing, Defenses Starting out as a writer can be really hard.  As you start to tell people what you are up to all day, there can be a number of different responses; not all of them good.

I have starting being a lot more open about my work as a writer.  I am now proud to say ‘work’ even though it is not my main ‘income’.  I used to get those two things confused but they are very different.  Career and Job and Work and Income and Lifestyle and Finances are so complicated and intricuate, that I no longer try and extract them from the other, as I once did.

I do ‘work’ as a writer and I defend my position.

Here are some common responses I have received after telling people I am working as a writer – accompanied with a suggested reply.  I hope they are helpful.

1.  …But you have never studied writing !  

The Emerging Writer, Writing, DefencesWell, you never went to the University of Arseholes and got your undergraduate degree in being a useless, sceptic, sad old looser but you seem to still be quite qualified!’

I kindly reply that I have not ruled out any further study, I am just establishing wether it is right for me before I commit to another four year degree, then I bring up my long list of university study and the years that both my bachelor degrees too me to complete and how they both lead me to nothing.

2.  You must have a lot of time on your hands if you can manage to write a book!

This response is often said in a self sacrificing martyrdom tone, as they tilt their head to one side and pretend to dream of a time when they too might have as much leisure time as you.  Don’t by into it.  It is a trick to make you feel guilty when you absolutely should not.  Kindly tell your assailant that you have just the same amount of time in your day as everyone else, you just choose to spend your time writing a novel.  It’s that simple.

3.  You will be around in the day time tomorrow, could you just…?

The Emerging Writer, Defences, WritingThis is not just an attitude people have towards writers but all people who work from home.  This ‘errand running’ assumption is based on a common belief that working from home is not a real profession.

There is an implied lack of social responsibility towards the writer, making you feel as thought you are in some way in debuted to those who are less organised or who have made poor life choices.

The post office is a common one… house chores, going up the street, a few groceries, or my favourite – registering their car.  Waiting for a bed to be delivered and getting keys cut for someone else’s house guest are a few of the odd jobs I have run for people.  I fell into the ‘help everyone out‘ trap for a little while before I realised that I hated doing shit for other people.  If you want to, that’s fine, but it’s not for me.

4.  Why are you going home so early, you’re not even working tomorrow?

How many times have I been at a dinner party in the last few months and had people question me when I tried to go home…(Well only once, but it seemed really inappropriate).  ‘But you don’t have to get up for anything tomorrow’ they said.  I was really hurt by this.  I guess what she meant was that I could start writing whenever I felt like it, but what it showed to me was a lack of understanding for how hard this work is.  There is nothing helpful to say at times like this, cause mostly you are too hurt to be funny.  Just remember that I know how hard it is for you – and so does every other writer out there.  And go home!  You need to sleep.

5.  But you can’t even spell.

This comment was both hurtful and informative.  I have since convinced myself that spelling is for editors and I am doing my best as an Australian to keep them employed and valid.

6. Don’t you have to hand write everything before it is any good?

After hearing from a friend about a writing lecturer who refused any work that was not first written as a long hand draft, I started to wonder about practice.  She was laughing as she mentioned it, saying that there was a lot of writing essays first and then faking a hand written draft later.  What a waste of time? I say.

Weather people like to romanticise their own practice or waste their own time or insist on doing things the ‘right way’, this folk lore of writing is another rule invented to exclude people who want to be writers.  The truth is that you just need to do what works best for you and be willing to say it, even to your writing friends.

7.  You still writing that little book of yours?

The key word in this question is little – like a hobby.  This is not even meant as an insult.  It is just a projection of themselves onto you.  That is how they view their own hobbies, dreams, or lifetime goals – as something small, insignificant and easily dismissed.

Don’t take it personally, it is just how they approach their own creativity.

8.  How do you expect to make any money from this?

The Emerging Writer, Writing, DefencesI am very honest when people ask me this question and sometimes it annoys them.  I simply answer that I don’t expect to make money from it.  I expect to end up with my well deserved $2000 a year and a successful career in hospitality.

But I also expect to be the envy of every person I meet who doesn’t have the guts to do what I did.  I expect to wake up every day loving my life and my career, satisfied that I am not wasting my time.  I expect to spend time with the incredible characters I create, in worlds far beyond my own existence.  I expect to find and connect with the most incredible colleagues around the country.  I expect to be respected in my own home.  I expect to not have to defend my choices.

I expect that one day I will look back on a diverse body of work with pride.


Can I Crowdfund?

Is it fair for me to Crowdfund my work when I have not contributed to others’?

12 June 2013 – Crowd funding

I am wasting my time on Facebook as usual, when a see something that makes me think.  A friend has shared a link to help crowd fund his movie.  It is not the first time I have seen a friend doing this.  Wyrmwood and Newtown are projects that friends of mine have crowd funded.

The Emerging WriterThe thing is, I have never had any money to contribute to their projects.  Is it fair for me to crowdfund my work when I have not contributed to others’.  I am still confused about what I am offering and why I am asking.  I defiantly feel a bit uncomfortable about asking people to help me make my dream come true, when they are going to nothing out of it.

I started to do a little research.  The two most popular sites to crowd fund online is Kickstarter and Pozible.  I also found a TED talk video by Amanda Palmer called The Art of Asking.  Interesting… There is a lot to consider.

If anyone is thinking about Crowd Funding their work and are not sure about, I recommend watching this video, I’ve put a link in up there.

Telling People You’re a Writer

14th June 2013 – Remember!! – It is MUCH easier to tell the lady at the supermarket your a writer than it is to tell your mother; who has supported you through two degrees, watched you fail at being an art teacher and has adjusted her expectations of your whole to life to include never paying back your HECS debt, working casually at a cafe in the city and making cute home made mobiles for your nieces.

This is probably the biggest hurdle I have been trying to over come for a long time – Telling people I am a writer without looking or feeling like a complete Wanker!

If you want my advice, take it slow.  Take it real slow and practice where ever you can.

STEP ONE – Practice writing it down first.

  • The Occupation section on an over seas entry visa.
  • In Online surveys and stuff.
  • Nest to your name on a piece of paper.

STEP TWO – Saying it out loud to strangers.

  • Tell your butcher.
  • Your barista.
  • The lady at the Supermarket
  • Your friends’ parents.

STEP THREE – It gets easier every single time you try it.

  • People you know brothers and sister.
  • Your best friend.
  • Your parents

The final step for me was to change my job title on Facebook.

No Turning Back Now

The Emerging Writer, Writing, traveling

Home coming

03 June 2013

I am driving to Merimbula to find us a house.  I am almost halfway through my experiment to leave the life of working in a cafe and enter the world of writing.  This is the view coming down the mountain from Canberra to Merimbula.  I have not been on the road for years.

I guess everything has been building up to this point.  I have quit my job and we are leaving Sydney.  I have to make this work.  I wonder if I could make any money out of this website…  Hmm, I will look into it.  I am so far in it now that I cant get out.  I have decided.  I have told everyone I know.  I am committed.

Adding ‘Writer’ to your Facebook Profile

emerging writer, writing, how to write a book, writing a novel, how to become a writer, creative writing ideas, writing tips,

Did you know that your Online Profile does accurately depict you – no matter how much you try to fake it?

If you thought that you were fooling any one with your Facebook profile, think again.

In most online situations you get to pick and choose the information you want to reveal. You get to select the most attractive photos of yourself to post and you can edit and revise your comments before you make them. But…surprisingly, one study discovered that Facebook profiles are actually quite good at conveying your real personality.

And viewers of your profile are very good at accurately reading you from it.

People Can Accurately Judge Your Personality Based on Your Profile

In the study, researchers looked at 236 profiles of 236. The participants also filled out questionnaires designed to measure personality traits. Observers then rated the personalities of the participants based on their online profiles, and these observations were compared to the results of the personality questionnaires. The researchers found that observers were able to get an accurate read on a person’s personality based on their Facebook profile.

Viewers of your profile trust and respect the information you are providing.

People will only ever take you as seriously as you take yourself.

So come on Emerging Writers… Change it the moment you decide to pursue writing full time.  Must be a complete transition.

‘I am petrified but I am going to do it anyway’

The Emerging WriterToday I am Changing my Job to Writer – After a lot of time telling people in my life I am a writer, today I am going to change my occupation on Facebook.  Big Deal!

Ok – I did it.

Oh my god – that was horrible.  I wish I could delete it…

NO!  It is all part of the change.  I need to pull my shit together, no one will even see it, this is for my own wellbeing.

So I did it.  I got such a positive response.  Some of my friends did not even realise I had started writing and sent me texts to ask how I was going.  It’s a great way to let people show they support you.  I have just realized something about Facebook.  You tend to only get two responses on Facebook.  Either people like your work and write something encouraging – OR – they ignore you.  All the people you hate and all the people who hate you, your not friends with and therefore…Don’t reply.

Your task – Log in to Facebook right now and Change Your Job.  

Then let me know how it felt…

How to Manage a Birthday

14 March 2013 – I recently turned 27.  The day was filled with cakes, friends, family and phone calls, so there was little content to contribute here on the day.  My niece and nephew decorated this cake as a special present for my birthday.  I think they ate most of the smarties.

The emerging writer, writing

Birthday High Tea

However, in the days afterwards I started to think about how birthdays can sometimes bring out the worst in us.  26! So young… 27 – OLD.

For my birthday I received a Kate Morton’s, The Secret Keeper – in hard cover.  I had wanted it for a while and was thrilled to get it from my best mate.  When I ripped of the wrapping paper and started turning it over in my hands I froze.  There on the back was a picture of her smiling back at me.  With the same thick bangs I have, about the same age as me.  I thought.  Oh god.  I am too slow.  (Must google her age?!)

It has only been a few months since the start of the year, but I have already aged a whole year.  It is just a reminder of how slowly I am moving.  It is already my birthday and I have not created or written anything tangable yet.  I still have not actually produced anything except poems for other peoples birthday cards, and text messages regard lateness.  Must get back to work then.

I just have to keep at it – That is all I can do.

But you haven’t studied writing

03 March 2013 – 

So, I have started telling people that my Fiance and I are moving to the coast and the first thing people ask is this, ‘What are you going to do down there?’  I tell them that I am going to do a little writing and maybe work a couple of days a week.  ‘But you haven’t studied writing!!’

No, no I haven’t.

the emerging writer


I went to Sydney College of the Arts and studied Fine Art with a major in painting.  I loved it.  I got distinctions and painted all the time and thought I was going to be an artist.  Then I actually started to work as an artist and couldn’t make the reality, fit with my idea of what it was going to be like.

I realized unfortunately too late, that the life of an artist, however successful was not what I wanted.  Had I known what exactly was involved in being an Artist, I would never have done it.  I’m not going to make that mistake again.

I have decided this time, to investigate thoroughly the career I am planning to pursue.  I am going to live and work and act like a writer – to see if I even like it.  I might turn out to be a terrible writer.  I know I am terrible right now.

If I love it and am not getting any better on my own – Then I am heading straight for University!