Planning for Success

We are having a big family reunion this weekend to coincide with our son's wedding and our house-warming in our new home. The relocation itself took almost 2 years to plan as we searched for the right location and the right home.The planning for a successful and stress free family gathering has  been in the works for over 3 months.

 In the process of trying to plan a successful family gathering it occurred to me that it is similar to the writing process. There are certain steps that I take in planning any big event that I want to turn out so why wouldn't the process work for a successful writing career.

First, I researched. Research included looking at properties, schools, churches, shopping etc for the relocation and it was detailed. I took notes, made calls, read whatever I could get my hands on, and talked in person with the people who knew what I needed to know. Writing articles, books, poems, or cartoons deserves the same research for market, style, topic, ideas, and anything else that would make the piece reach the heart of the reader. In essence, research is the first part of the writing process.

The next part of the writing process is the planning stage where you lay out all the research and start making decisions about which information is essential and which parts of the research can be kept on hold. Planning is part of any successful action whether it is planning a party or planning an article.

Implementing the plan is when you get down and dirty with action steps that make the plan go from a plan into an event or end product. You clean and cook preparing for guests, you write (cook) your words and then you revise (clean and polish) to prepare your manuscript.

At different stages of any action plan you must take time to assess. The assessment gives you the information you need get the project or event just right. Planning a party or planning a book takes the same assessment at different times to make sure you are still on track. Take a look at what can be added to make your writing piece shine or maybe what you can delete.

Evaluation is the last step. In my case, we will hope the guests have a good time, no one is hurt or sick, and that the house is still standing after three nights of campfires, cookouts, and a wedding. In the case of your writing your hope should be personal pride and satisfaction in a job well done and of course the ultimate goal of publication. You want to reach your readers with a product they love.

It seems that when things don't go as planned we deem the project a failure but in fact it is all part of a learning and growing process. In the case of a party or event, changes can be made for the next time. Maybe less cooking, more relaxing, and fewer expectations. In the case of your writing projects, a revision can change things and make your story or article a success. Killing the character or changing the focus of a piece can be just the right thing. And sometimes the piece is perfect just the way it is but the target audience may need to change. It may take you back to the research step but then you continue with the process until you succeed.

No matter what you do in life, it seems planning will lead to success if you follow the steps and listen to your heart. Don't bypass the research or short change the process and expect success. All successes take a plan and planning is hard work. What is your plan for success?


Kathleen Moulton said...

Your article helped me to see that we must be flexible. I am finding that writing is very different than many skills. There's an ebb and flow. It doesn't fit into my formula or input - output thinking! But I'm learning.

Congratulations and have a wonderful weekend!


Karen Cioffi said...

Terri, great analogy. Writing like everything else worthwhile in life takes time and effort. Planning and doing the research needed is an essential part of it.

I do agree with Kathleen in that the writing process, being creative, does have its ebbs and flows. It's important to keep 'truckin' through.

There are so many examples of how perseverance is a primary key element to success. The most recent is a writing group member of mine who queried Pockets Magazine for years. Her query was finally accepted.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Great post. I especially appreciate the reminder that if you don't succeed in a wriitng project, it is not a failure.

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