I'd like to welcome the talented Lila Munro today. She's here talking about planning and setting goals. Something I'm sure we all could use some insight on. I'm so excited she's stopped by to chat.
Fail to Plan = Plan to Fail
Good morning everyone! And thank you, Britni, for having me over today. It’s a pleasure to be here. Although I’m not accustomed to hanging around the PG13 world, I do occasionally, and although a bit rusty at it, I’m going to give it a whirl. ;) Actually, it’s kind of nice to be able to write about something other than my genre choice (which is quite naughty) for a few minutes. While I love my genre choice, there’s so much more to writing than what I choose to write. In fact, I used to make it my life’s business to talk about all aspects of writing on my blog, but fell away from blogging so much on my own platform earlier this year as I went out into the world and guest posted more and more. Later this year I plan to make a return to writing on my own blog more and doing as I did before, offering a bit of advice each week to new and aspiring writers. I hope it’s good advice. I don’t consider myself an expert or anyone else for that matter because the market is so fluid and particularly in the e-book world there is never any concrete, tangible proof that any one single thing is the key to the magic kingdom, so to speak. One thing I do know, however, is if you fail to plan, you in essence plan to fail.
You absolutely, positively must have a plan. Without one, you’re the equivalent of a rudderless ship in choppy waters and your compass is broken. A recipe for disaster if ever there was one.
For some, the plan is as simple as they want to write a book and see it published. It’s a bucket list item and this would fulfill their goal. Write one book. See it published. Mission accomplished. Being as I’ve worked both sides of the fence in this industry, I’ve seen many people come and go on just this plan alone. They publish one work, they are happy, all is well in their world. This plan is quite simple. This percentage of writers isn’t concerned with sales, not concerned with marketing. They want one thing and one thing only, to see their name on Amazon. And that’s okay. Every writer has a different goal and therefore their plans will vary, be simpler or more complicated accordingly, but the need to plan still applies. And it’s when the goal becomes more complicated the plan should as well. Where we fail at times is in the actual forming of the plan and subsequent execution.
I’ve been at this a while now and as my definition of what my goal was became refined, so did my plan. I didn’t realize the importance of the plan at first, but once I did, my life as a writer became much easier. The first year, I knew one thing. I wanted published. Past that I had no idea what I wanted from this life. That first year was fairly simple…at least until I hit the six month mark and became discontent and realized my lack of planning was leading to failure. I was naïve in thinking all I wanted was to become published. I wanted more. I wanted fans and readers and more money and name recognition and a different publisher (no Rebel Ink Press wasn’t my first press). I wanted a lot more than I thought I did or had recognized at first. How did I get there? It’s at this point that most people’s sense of survival kicks in and the whole publishing industry becomes a dog eat dog world and things tend to get dirty. This is the point where the will to survive separates the bucket listers from the endurance club. Your goals sort of define where you fit in and who will talk to you and who’s willing to help you.
Year two my goals shifted from I merely wanted published to I wanted it all. While I still had no real sense of how to get there, I knew one thing, name recognition was imperative. Blogging and all the free advertising I could find. That was the plan. It wasn’t defined, it was rough, it wasn’t in writing. Just blog my butt (see I can write it clean) off and get my cover art anywhere I could find a free or inexpensive slot to house it. Well, this sort of worked. It was at some point during the end of year two I discovered I had again failed to plan, or at least plan properly.
Year three…I planned to succeed. I realized I had to have a defined planned with specific ways of making the plan work. In other words, I had to get down to business and set down goals to paper with the steps I would have to take to get to the end of the rainbow. I needed a clear cut map, a GPS, and a boy scout tagging along for good measure. I had to plan! This fly by the seat of my pants gig wasn’t getting me where I wanted to be, which was another issue in and of itself. I wasn’t totally sure where I wanted to be. You see the cutthroat world of publishing is exhausting at times to say the least and I had discovered there were certain people, places, and things I just simply wanted no part of. So, I sat down and started my resolution to success. It wasn’t the new year officially, but it was my new year. By the way, new writers, this flailing about wondering where you’re going is not unusual. Don’t feel like if you take three years to get it together and define yourself and your goals you’ve failed. You’ve not. You’re just simply taking a while to figure out what you want and how to get there. This is common.
My new plan is on paper and even has a title: 2012 Goals and How to Get There. Yes, I got that anal. I do not under any circumstances want to fail. I want to succeed! The goal: Increase Readership, Increase Name Recognition, Decide What’s Next (as in…am I Big Six shopping?). It’s clear cut, it’s concise. It defines what I want to accomplish. Step one: Commit to blogging at least once a week on my own blog. Step two: Research the pros and cons of what’s next. Step three: Guest blog at a reputable site at least four times a month. Step four: Develop and maintain positive meaningful relationships with positive meaningful people. (This means network—know it and use it!) The list goes on with specific advertising strategies and an advertising budget—where and when, where I want to see a review of my work by year’s end, contests I will enter, etc. It’s on paper and outlined. It’s my business plan.
You see, we’re all running a business. Our writing is our business and we are the vehicle from which it either succeeds or fails. No good business flies by the seat of their pants. They have a clear cut plan. It defines the goal of the company and outlines how to get there.
Are you a bucket lister or a member of the endurance club? If you’re in this for the long haul you must define yourself and your direction, because if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Thanks again, Britni, for having me by and letting me chatter away today.
Lila Munro currently resides on the coast of North Carolina with her husband and their two four-legged kids. She’s a military wife with an empty nest and takes much of her inspiration for her heroes from the marines she’s lived around for the past fifteen years. Coining the term realmantica, she strives to produce quality romance in a realistic setting. Her genre of choice is contemporary romance that spans everything from the sensual to BDSM and ménage. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading everything she can get her hands on, trips to the museum and aquarium, taking field research trips, and soaking up the sun on the nearby beaches. Her works include The Executive Officer’s Wife, Bound By Trust, Destiny’s Fire, Salvation, Three for Keeps, the Force Recon series, the Slower Lower series, and the Identity series. She’s a member in good standing of RWA and Passionate Ink. Currently she’s working on sequels to several series to be released throughout 2012. And has a brand new line scheduled for winter 2012-13. Ms. Munro loves to hear from her readers and can be contacted via her website http://realmanticmoments.blogspot.com Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Lila_MunroPinterest at https://pinterest.com/lilamunro/Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4200524.Lila_Munro You can also contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks again for stopping by Lila!