Becoming a professional writer
“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”
~ Richard Bach
If you are a writer struggling with the dream of becoming a professional writer, don’t quit.
Persistence is the key, and hard work. Set some firm goals for today, this week, this month, this year and for the next five years. Write down these goals – then go for them. Don’t even think about quitting.
Word by word, chapter by chapter, story by story, poem by poem you will become a professional writer.
You may not reap fame or fortune – very few do. Most professional writers who diligently pursue their dreams make a reasonable living from their labours.
And while you are becoming a professional writer you will have the satisfaction that you are doing what you love – writing.
Writing Goals for 2009
I believe in setting goals for my writing. This is an important part of a writer’s life – and for almost every other pursuit in life.
Short term, regular Goals
On a regular basis I set daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals for my writing. These include:
- setting goals for the number of words written
- setting goals for the number of hours of writing
- setting goals for inservice training such as attending conferences, workshops, reading and other forms of self education.
- setting target dates for the submission of manuscripts.
- setting minimum number of posts on my blogs
Long term goals
Late last year I took some time to map out some longer term goals for my writing career. I set some goals for each year for the next five years. This may seem a long view of things but it helped me to clarify where I am heading with my writing. These goals included such things as the number of publications I would like to accomplish as well as some projected – and hopefully realistic – income goals over the next five years. All these goals are flexible and wil be adapted to suit changing circumstances.
My specific goals for 2009
It is always good to set some specific goals for the immediate future. Some of my goals for this year include:
- Completing my Master of Arts in Creative Writing – this is well under way with one year to go. I should be finished by this time next year.
- Writing a 40,000 word novel – this will be my thesis paper for my degree. The novel must be of a publishable standard. That’s my big challenge this year.
- Submissions to publishers of manuscripts written during my course last year. This includes several picture books, a short novel for young children, dozens of poems and several short stories.
- Continued posting of articles on my three blogs (see the links in the sidebar).
- Averaging 1000 words per day for the whole year (up from 700 per day achieved last year).
- Averaging 5 hours per day on my writing, a target I achieved last year. This might not seem much until you try – to average 5 hours per day I actually had to do many days over 10 hours to achieve the average. There will always be days when no writing is achieved due to illness, holidays, family responsibilities and so on.
I can see that it will be a busy year – again.