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Your Career Plan is the Key to Your Success

When I look around at authors who have been truly successful versus those who seem to be floundering I see one distinct difference. And that’s a plan.

A good business owner of any kind always has a plan and she always knows that the plan is likely to change which means she’ll need to revisit it, at the very least, once every year. There are a number of things this plan could have and that really depends on what you think it needs to have.

Of course your plan will need goals. You’ll need long-term goals like hitting the New York Times bestseller list and short-term goals like finishing this next book. You’ll need financial goals as well as writing goals and you’ll definitely need goals that at this point in your career seem almost unattainable.

The most important thing to note is that to really achieve success, change is important and necessary. The plan you wrote ten years ago is going to look very different from the one you’re working with now. I know mine has. Some of those original goals might become less important as your career progresses or as the industry changes. Some of those goals might be more important. Even if the goals always remain the same, What will always change will be the path you plan to take to achieve them. At one point you might have thought publishing your first book would be enough to help you achieve that dream, but as you’re watching the trajectory of your career you might come to realize that this is going to take a little longer than you thought and you’ll need to shift some of your tactics and even your timeline to achieve what you ultimately want.

If you don’t have a plan or goals that you’ve written down you need to schedule some time to do that now. I have a business plan that I share with my team. It includes the goals I want to see for BookEnds as well as the goals each of us individually want to achieve. I also have a list of personal goals taped to my computer. Something I can refer back to as I’m planning my day, my week or even my month. Something that helps keep me in check. Some of those goals for 2015 have already been achieved. Some I’m realizing are going to take a bit longer and others are a constant work in progress.

When writing your plan, don’t be afraid to share it with others. It helps keep you in check and helps them help you achieve those dreams.

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9 comments

  1. I agree completely! How will you know you’ve reached your goals if you don’t set them, first. Figuring out what you really want is often the most difficult part. After you know, the rest seems to fall into place relatively easily.

  2. I have a business plan I first wrote a couple of years ago and update each year. As an unpublished writer I seem to be in the minority though. Most of my unpublished friends don’t have one, and think I’m a bit crazy for having it. But the unpublished period is still part of a writing career and it’s just as important to plan then as it is when you are published – as evidenced by what you wrote above. All that applies to unpublished writers as well.

  3. When I teach goals/accountability/organizational strategies, we always start with the really big goals (NYT bestseller, quit your day job, etc.) but then I insist on SMART goals. I wish I knew who originated the term, but it’s been floating around for at least ten years because that’s when it was first taught to me. SMART goals are
    Specific
    Measurable
    Achievable
    Relevant (to those larger goals)
    Time-bound

    I have a lot of big goals (selling lots of books, losing weight, cleaning my house) and a ton of SMART subset goals, and about three sets of plans — the long-term, the near-term, and the daily.

    I still screw up, but it’s a lot easier to keep on track, or get back on track, when you can see the track in front of you 🙂

  4. Great advice. I’ve always had a plan from the first day I sat down at the computer and decided to write a book. I’ve achieved almost all of my long term goals except for two and those two are always transferred to the top of my new goal list. I won’t give up on them.

  5. Such great advice. Sometimes it’s scary to make a plan with specific goals – it’s as if writing it down makes it real. And what if you never reach your goals?! But I think if you have a specific dream, it’s imperative to have a specific plan. It’s terrifying, but exhilarating. Writing my (scary) goals down right now.

  6. I don’t have a business plan, I don’t see that point in complicating things with that yet. But I do have goals and needing to write a business plan is now one of those goals. There is method to my madness.

    As this for me started out as a distraction and therapy, to help give me a kind of weapon against my disabilities. My goals are still quite small, but getting bigger all the time. Editing, following this blog, considering that I can sub to agents, publishers. Are all things I didn’t think possible when I started on this path.

  7. Thanks for your comment, G. Baker! I, too, start things and don’t always see them through to completion…and the truth is that I need to return to articles I’ve written about turning my dreams into achievable goals, to stay motivated.And sometimes I start things, and just get bored. Sometimes the only way to figure out if something is something you really want is to start it…and let it go if it’s not what you envision for your life.Anyway, thank you for thanking me. It’s readers like you who keep me gones!Blissingg,Laurie

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