Episode 016 – Q4 Planning for Writers

In today’s episode, we’re preparing for quarter 4 and making plans for our author business.

This week’s episode is one of my favourites – planning! Quarter 4 is almost upon us so it’s time to make a solid plan to finish the year strong and smash those annual goals we set in January.

This episode is packed with tips. If you want more in-depth advice, then pick up my book, Goal Setting for Writers.

If it’s a more personalised approach you need, then join my Patreon today at the Paddle Steamer tier and get quarterly planning sessions with me on Zoom.

I hope you enjoy the episode. If you already know your Q4 goals, share them with me in the comments on Spotify or the website, or on our Discord server.

Answer the question of the week in the comments below: What are your Q4 goals?

*Affiliate links may be included. You never pay more, but I may make a small commission on your purchase. This helps to pay for the running of this site.

    Quarterly Review: Reflect on Q3's progress and lessons.
    Set Clear Objectives: Use SMART goals for focused direction.
    Prioritize Tasks: Determine high-impact activities for Q4.
    Schedule Deadlines: Assign dates to maintain momentum.
    Prepare Resources: Ensure tools and materials are ready.
    Stay Adaptable: Re-evaluate and adjust as needed throughout Q4.

Listen now wherever you stream podcasts.


Hello Navigators. Welcome to Writer Roadmap, the podcast for writers seeking inspiration, guidance, and support on their creative journey. I’m your host, Holly Lyne, and today we’re setting our compasses towards the last quarter of the year. We’re diving into Quarter 4 planning. Buckle up and grab your notebooks, this is a hands-on episode!

STEP 1: Reflecting on the Year

Let’s begin by glancing back at the rear view mirror. Reflection is a crucial first step in our planning process.

  • What have you accomplished so far this year?
  • What lessons have you learned?
  • Where can improvements be made?

Reflection allows us to build on our successes and learn from our missteps, setting a strong foundation for the coming months. Remind yourself of your annual goals and check to see if they are still relevant or if you need to pivot. Remember, there is nothing wrong with changing your mind.

STEP 2: Setting Clear and Achievable Goals

Turning our attention to the road ahead, let’s explore the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting framework:

  • Specific: Define exactly what you want to achieve.
  • Measurable: How will you track progress?
  • Achievable: Set realistic yet challenging targets.
  • Relevant: Align goals with your broader vision.
  • Time-bound: Set deadlines to keep momentum.

But why use the S.M.A.R.T. framework? It offers several benefits:

  • Clarity and Focus: By setting Specific and Measurable goals, you create a clear path to follow, eliminating ambiguity.
  • Motivation: Achievable and Relevant goals create a sense of attainability and alignment with your broader vision, boosting your motivation.
  • Accountability: Time-bound goals ensure that you have a set timeline to work toward, increasing your sense of responsibility and urgency.
  • Studies suggest that these elements make people much more likely to achieve their goals.

Breaking down your Quarter 4 goals into monthly, weekly, or even daily milestones can make the journey more manageable and enjoyable. You might find it helpful to set up a spreadsheet or some other way to track your progress and really capitalise on the measurable aspect of your goals.

STEP 3: Strategy and Tactics

Now, let’s focus on the driving techniques. Strategy is your roadmap, while tactics are the turns you make along the way.

  • Outline your approach: What’s your big-picture plan?
  • Detail your tactics: Break down strategies into actionable steps.
  • Identify potential roadblocks: Anticipate and prepare for obstacles.


Identifying potential problems before they occur and preparing for them can be the difference between achieving your goals or not. Quarter 4 is packed with potential distractions – kids starting new schools, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all fall in this quarter. It’s a lot of other demands on our time. So look ahead on your calendar and consider what is realistic for you to accomplish with all of these distractions looming.

STEP 4: Accountability and Support

You don’t have to travel this road alone. Building in accountability and support systems can make the journey more enjoyable and successful.

  • Find a writing buddy: Share your progress and encourage each other.
  • Utilize tracking tools: Spreadsheets, journals, or apps can help.
  • Join a writing group: Community support can be powerful. If you haven’t already joined, we have a Discord community for this. Check the show notes for a link to join.

STEP 5: Embracing Flexibility

And finally, allow for detours. Your Q4 road may have unexpected twists, so being flexible and adaptable is key.

  • Re-evaluate regularly: Check in on your goals and adapt as needed.
  • Embrace change: Sometimes, the unexpected can lead to beautiful destinations.
  • I know this can be hard for some of us, but learning to adapt can help us be more resilient and help us achieve our goals.


Navigators, Quarter 4 is an exciting time to refuel your creative tank and charge towards the finish line. If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, then it’s autumn and there’s all the inspiration that comes with that season! Whether you’re wrapping up projects or laying the groundwork for the new year, thoughtful planning, goal setting, and adaptability will guide you to success.

Don’t forget to grab a copy of Goal Setting for Writers if you haven’t already, and revisit our past challenges for more insights.

As always, I’m here to guide you. Join our Patreon community for more personalized support at patreon.com/hollylyne.

Don’t forget to subscribe and share this podcast with your fellow writers.

Until next time, happy planning, Navigators, and may your writing road be smooth and fulfilling!

Writer Roadmap intro and outro music used under license from Pixabay. Music track “Salangseuleoun” was Created by “Dayfox”.

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