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How Can You Achieve Your Writing Goals In 2008?  

 by Gayle Trent


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First, you have to know what those goals are. Second, you need a plan. (Cue theme song from "Rocky.") Whether you write full-time, part-time or when time permits, you need a business plan. Your business plan should include an Executive Summary. The goals you hope to achieve this year should comprise your executive summary. Let's say yours looks like this:

Executive Summary: A) Complete novel. B) Sell ten articles to magazines. C) Attend one writers' conference.

Next comes your Plan of Action. How do you plan to achieve these goals? I'll prepare three model plans of action. POA1 is for those who write full-time. POA2 is for those who write part-time. POA3 is for those who write when time permits.

POA1: In order to complete my novel and sell ten magazine articles, I need to allocate my time to accommodate both goals. I need to determine whether I feel most creative in the morning or in the afternoon. If I'm most creative in the afternoon, that's when I will work on my novel. I'll take care of the non-fiction and "business" end of writing in the morning. In order to sell ten magazine articles, I'll need to send out lots of queries--one per week, minimum. So, each morning, I'll check my e-mail; search for markets; and begin to prepare a terrific, targeted query. After lunch, I'll work on my novel--achieving a minimum output of three pages per day. As for the writers' conference, I'll seek out the one that best fits my needs, see if it fits into my budget, and begin making arrangements to attend.

POA2: In order to complete my novel and sell ten magazine articles, I need to allocate my time to accommodate both goals. As I have a limited amount of time to spend on my writing, I need to a) get up earlier in the morning in order to write before I begin my day; b) set aside an hour in the evening to write; and/or c) allocate my lunch hour three days per week to writing. In order to achieve my goals of completing my novel and selling ten magazine articles, I need to spend 3/5 of my writing time working on my novel and 2/5 of my writing time preparing the queries and articles necessary to meet my magazine article goal. With regard to the writers' conference, I'll find one nearby that will conform to my schedule and my budget. Even though it might not be the best conference for me, it will allow me agent/editor appointments, the opportunity to learn from more experienced writers, and I will be able to network with other writers.

POA3: In order to complete my novel and sell ten magazine articles, I need to make a definite commitment to my writing. I need to set aside time at least three days a week to work on my writing. On each of those three days, I will send work on one query to a magazine editor (brainstorming, searching for a market, and actually preparing the query) and then work on my novel. I will submit one thorough query every week. When I have a query accepted, I will work on that article exclusively until it is finished and sent to the editor. Then I will revert back to my original plan of working on one query per day and then work on the novel. I need to have at least four pages of my novel--or one scene--completed per day in order to achieve my goal. It would be best for me to find a writers' conference catering to like-minded writers who are also busy with non-writing careers and families so that I might learn from them how to better manage my time in order to meet my goals.

After you have an executive summary and an overall plan of action, make a plan of action for each month in 2008. For instance, if you plan to submit five magazine queries per month, you should have a section on your calendar for "Submit Magazine Queries" and five boxes. Beside the five boxes, leave enough space to note the magazine to which you've queried. If you don't submit the queries, those blank spaces are confronting you each time you open your calendar.

Best wishes for a wonderful, productive and successful 2008!

About the Author

Gayle Trent is a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. Visit her site at If you're interested in becoming a writer yourself, visit