Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Where Are We Going With This?

blog60 Conferences are very good for making you think about your long-term plans.

There are writers there that have been published for the past 20 to 30 years…and there are writers who are just starting out, too, and thinking about where they want to go.

And there’s nothing like a talk with your agent to help you straighten out your long-term goals. :)

I’ve said before that one of the best things I’ve done for my writing career was decide what direction I wanted to take with my writing. What was my purpose? How many people did I want to write for?

It reminds me of journalism’s Five Ws (and one H) that are needed to get the full story on a subject:

Why are we doing this? Do we only want to share our work with family and friends? If so, then we could consider self-publishing. Or do we want to share a story with a wider audience?

What steps are we going to take to achieve our goals? Take online classes on writing topics we’re weak in? Attend workshops? Go to conferences that sponsor agent pitches?

Where would we like to see our novel or nonfiction published? Where would we like to go with all this…a long-term career or a one-time thing?

When is our self-imposed deadline for completing a first draft? For a submission-ready manuscript?

Who is our ideal agent? We can research agents on Agent Query and check the ones we find against Preditors and Editors and Writers Beware.

How are we going to achieve our goals if our efforts are met with continued failure? Do we have a plan B? Consider pitching to smaller or independent publishers? Try building up our name or resume by getting published in magazines? Enter contests? Consider writing a different genre-- a more commercially viable one?

Sometimes I feel like I’m just responding to stimuli and not really reassessing my master plan. Talking to my agent helped refocus me and made me take a look at where I am now and where I want to be—and the steps I need to take to get there.

Do you know where you’re going?