Episode 023 – Future Planning for Your Author Career

That’s right, Navigators, it’s time for my favourite topic! As December marches towards us, it’s time for those of us who are so inclined to look ahead to the new year and beyond – those low in Futuristic, it’s OK, this one may not be for you 😉

If you’d like more detailed help with making an achievable plan for 2024, check out my book, Goal Setting for Writers at ⁠www.books2read.com/goals⁠

For direct coaching with me for the new year, sign up at ⁠www.patreon.com/hollylyne

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Infographic summary of post. Text reads:
2023 Review: Reflect on growth and challenges.
2024 Vision: Define broad writing and personal goals.
Vision Boards: Create visual representations of goals.
Monthly Themes: Set focused goals each month.
SMART Goals: Craft clear, achievable objectives.
Flexibility: Adapt plans to unexpected opportunities.

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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. As we near the end of 2023, it’s the perfect time to look ahead and set our sights on 2024. Today, we’re talking about future planning – not just setting goals, but creating a vision for the year ahead that excites and motivates us.

As writers, we know that every great story needs a vision, and the same goes for our writing lives.

Planning for the future isn’t just about ticking off goals; it’s about envisioning the writing life you want to lead. So, how do we approach this?

Reflect on the Past Year

As we prepare to turn the page to a new chapter in 2024, it’s crucial to take a reflective look back at 2023. Reflecting isn’t just about skimming through the highlights; it’s about delving into your experiences to understand your writing journey better. Ask yourself: What were your stand-out moments as a writer this year? Think about the projects you completed, the challenges you faced, and the milestones you achieved.

But let’s go deeper. Consider the moments that defined your growth. What were the instances where you felt most challenged, and how did you overcome those hurdles? Was there a particular piece of feedback or a specific event that shifted your perspective or approach to writing? What about the goals you didn’t meet? Often, there’s as much to learn, if not more, from the unmet goals as from the achieved ones.

Reflect on the habits you formed. Which practices contributed positively to your writing, and which ones hindered your progress? Did you discover new tools or techniques that enhanced your creativity? How did your writing routines evolve, and what impact did these changes have on your productivity and well-being?

Take some time to journal these reflections, allowing yourself to explore these questions without judgement. This process isn’t about critiquing your past year’s performance; it’s about gaining insights that will guide you into a more informed and intentional new year.

With these reflections in mind, let’s now focus on the horizon ahead and set our intentions for 2024…

Setting Goals for 2024

As we stand on the cusp of 2024, it’s time to broaden our horizons and think about the big picture for the year ahead. This is more than just setting goals; it’s about painting a vision for your future self and your writing journey. When envisioning your 2024, think about what would make the year fulfilling and successful for you as a writer and as an individual.

Start by asking yourself broader questions: What kind of writer do you want to be by the end of 2024? Are there new genres or styles you want to explore? Perhaps you want to delve into poetry, try your hand at scriptwriting, or venture into the world of non-fiction. Consider the impact you wish to make with your writing. Is it to entertain, to inform, to inspire, or to provoke thought?

Think about the milestones that would mark a successful year. This could be completing a novel, getting published, increasing your readership, or even enhancing your writing skills. But remember, success in writing isn’t just about the end product; it’s also about the process. Reflect on how you want to grow as a writer. Do you want to refine your writing routine, enhance your research skills, or develop stronger character arcs?

Then, think about the experiences you want to have. Maybe attending a writer’s conference, participating in a writing retreat, or joining a new writers’ group is on your list. These experiences can provide not just learning opportunities but also sources of inspiration and networking.

It’s also essential to consider work-life balance and how writing fits into your broader life goals. How do you envision balancing your writing with other responsibilities and interests? What does a harmonious and fulfilling day, week, or month look like for you in 2024?

One thing I’ve been doing every year for a long time now is to pick a word for the year to help me remain focused on my Big Why. This year my word was “Passion”. This helped me to decide what projects to pursue and what to leave behind. You might choose something like “Productivity”, “Words”, or perhaps you need something like “Rest”.

As you map out this big picture, allow yourself to dream big, but also anchor these dreams in achievable goals. In the next section, we’ll look at how to break down these big visions into actionable steps.

Creating a Vision Board

One of my favourite ways to visualize the future is by creating a vision board. This can be a physical board in your writing space or a digital one on your computer. Fill it with images, quotes, and anything else that inspires you and aligns with your 2024 vision.

Monthly Themes and Focus Areas

Consider setting monthly themes or focus areas. This approach can keep your goals fresh and your motivation high throughout the year. For instance, January could be ‘Exploration Month,’ where you experiment with a new writing style, and February could be ‘Connection Month,’ where you focus on building your writing network. One thing I like to do is pick one of my top Clifton Strengths to develop each month, so maybe you could try that too.

Make it SMART

With our vision for 2024 outlined, it’s time to bring it into focus with SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This framework transforms our broad aspirations into actionable and attainable objectives.

Specific: Begin by making your goals as specific as possible. If your vision is to publish a novel, define what genre, how long it will be, or what themes you want to explore. The clearer your goal, the easier it will be to take directed action.

Measurable: Attach a quantifiable aspect to your goals. If you aim to improve your writing, set a measurable target, like writing a certain number of words daily or completing a set number of chapters each month. This way, you can track your progress and stay motivated.

Achievable: While ambition is essential, realism is equally important. Assess your current situation and resources to set goals that are challenging yet attainable. Consider your available time, your existing commitments, and the support you might need to achieve these goals.

Relevant: Ensure your goals align with your broader vision and values. If your overarching aim is to explore new writing styles, a relevant goal could be to experiment with different narrative techniques or to attend a creative writing workshop specializing in unfamiliar genres.

Time-bound: Finally, set deadlines. Whether it’s finishing a manuscript draft by mid-year or submitting to writing contests quarterly, having a timeline creates a sense of urgency and helps prioritize tasks.

By setting SMART goals, you’re not just dreaming about what 2024 could be – you’re plotting a course to make it happen. Remember, these goals are not set in stone; they’re flexible guides that can adapt as you grow throughout the year.

The Importance of Flexibility

Remember, while it’s great to have a plan, it’s also important to stay flexible. The writing journey is full of surprises, and sometimes the best opportunities come from the unexpected.

As we look forward to 2024, let’s embrace the possibilities that lie ahead. Let’s commit to not only growing as writers but also enjoying the journey, celebrating every step, and supporting each other along the way.

Thank you for joining me today, Navigators. I’m excited to see where 2024 takes us all. If you’re looking for more guidance or want to share your plans for the upcoming year, join our community on Patreon at patreon.com/hollylyne. And don’t forget to hit subscribe and share this episode with your fellow writers.

Until next time, keep plotting your course and writing your story. Here’s to a fantastic year ahead!

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