I’d love to sit here and tell you that Laurie Halse Anderson is a good friend of mine. But that would be disingenuous of me. That’s nothing against her, by the way; ohmygod, if you’re a fan like I am, let me just tell you right now she is exactly as cool and awesome in person as you’d think. But do we hang out regularly at those secret writers’ retreats sipping coffee and discoursing on character development? No. A very sad, sad no.
BUT, having said that, she did give me something when we met a couple years ago that has been a huge help, and that is The Five Year Plan.
This is–my words, now–basically a way to write down your goals for the next five years, and you update it every year. Everyone’s will be different; mine is mostly focused on my publishing goals, such as “Sell one YA contemporary novel” and/or “Sell one middle-grade adventure.” Things like that. I, personally, also keep track of speaking engagements and whether or not I got paid for them.
Let me tell you … this thing works. The first year I did it, I hit every single one of my goals. I think it’s just because there they were, waiting to be checked off. (I’m a hard-core checker-offer.) I set out to get ten paid speaking engagements; I ended up with twelve. I wanted to sell my next YA novel; did that, too. And so on.
It’s now October 2014, and I’m updating my 5 Year Plan for 2015, looking back at 2014, and I gotta say…eesh! Things did not go according to plan. I mean, big-time.
Okay. That’s what the 5 Year Plan is for, at least the way I use it. I was able to track exactly where I went off the rails, and where exactly I want to go in 2015.
So what’s on your 5 Year Plan? The keyword there is your. Look out a bit, what do you see? Who do you want to be next year, or in five? Write it down, brothers and sisters. Write it down. You can do anything.
No, you really can.
Take care, and say words.
Random Pulp Fiction quote of the day that’s running through my head: “Normally, both your asses would be dead as f***ing fried chicken, but you happen to pull this shit while I’m in a transitional period so I don’t wanna kill you, I wanna help you.” ~ Jules