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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > June 2016 > Writing life: Fulfil your five-year plan

Writing life: Fulfil your five-year plan

Reach your writing goals one step at a time, with advice from Gary Dalkin

Last month we looked at setting your goals for the next five years of your writing life, and then finding ways to make sure you have the time to meet them. This month we are going to explore making a Five Year Plan to give you a realistic chance of fulfilling those goals. As I wrote last time: a plan is not a guarantee, but rather an embodiment of your goals and a set of steps towards achieving them. We want to make sure those steps are realistic so we don’t become disheartened and give up.

Last time I gave some examples of possible goals for a Five Year Plan. Top of my list was becoming a published (or self-published) novelist. In lieu of working through all the other possible plans, for which there isn’t space in one article, I’m going to focus now on that particular goal, and look at how one might set about achieving it over a five-year period. That said, most of the ideas and suggestions here can be applied to writing nonfiction books, stories, articles, screenplays and more.

Break it down

The first thing to do is break those five years down into individual years. And then to subdivide those years to establish a series of smaller steps. I would suggest you have yearly, quarterly, monthly and weekly goals. These shouldn’t be considered as set in stone, but as guidelines. Targets to aim for, not something to berate yourself over if you don’t achieve as much as you hoped within a certain period. And while in this example each year’s main goal remains the same – to write a novel – the shorter-term goals will change more over time. For instance, your first month’s goal might be to start a blog, while your goal nine months later could be to research and contact some literary agents.

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Handling heroes: Learn from the Bard New series: An insider's view of publishing Written your book? We'll help you sell it! How to: • Write better features • Sell and re-sell your writing overseas • Create a screenplay from your novel Pen pushers: Ideas and exercises to inspire your writing Star interview: Scandalous historian Halle Rubenhold WIN! A 6-day Arvon writer's retreat worth £600

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