Last night I sat down for a planning session with my business manager/ wife. We decided to do some long-range goal-setting. Where do we want Dawnsbrook to be in five years?
So, we’d already talked about all the various plans. We knew we were planning to do a six-book series a year until/unless it didn’t look viable, business-wise. We knew that there various other writing enterprises we wanted to embark on. None of this was a surprise to either of us, but it was the first time we put it all on paper in the same place.
So. Whew. There’s a lot of things coming if everything goes according to plan.
I’m not going to lay it all out as if it’s “the Jonathon Mast Cinematic Universe Phase Six” or whatever. Sorry, no big previews of what’s coming—at least not today, other than to say, if everything goes according to plan, there’s a lot coming up in the next five years. It’ll take a lot of work from both of us.
But here’s the thing… it’s all doable.
I’m a big fan of goal setting. It’s hard to get somewhere if you don’t know where you’re aiming to end up. That doesn’t mean you achieve every goal, of course, but you’re still moving forward with purpose. I’m not aiming to “publish books.” This year it’s Madelyn of the Sky. Next year it’ll be Cade and the Last Starship. The year after that, there’s a six-book series and a trilogy…
I know what I’m aiming for. I know how much time I have to get it done. That means I can allocate my time and energy in appropriate ways. I know certain books will take more time and effort than others, because I can already see which books will have a bigger word count, which books I’ll be doing more world building, and so on.
There’s also plenty of wiggle-room in the five year plan. For instance, this last may, we ran a Kickstarter campaign for Madelyn of the Sky. One of the stretch goals was essentially a bonus book of short stories that took place in that world. Well, that stretch goal was met. We’re planning to repeat that as a stretch goal for Cade and the Last Starship. That means I’m already thinking up some of those short stories… but if we don’t reach that stretch goal, I won’t be writing those stories! Less work for me!
Similarly, we’re hoping to branch out into YA books. I’ve already got the first two books in a trilogy written. I can write the last book relatively easily. If those sell well enough, I’ll be writing another trilogy, hopefully every year. If it doesn’t sell well, I guess I won’t be writing any more YA!
So the plan can shift, but we’ve got a game plan. I know what I’m aiming for. We put together a huge checklist, covering the major steps of each book. We can consult the list to see how we’re doing, comparing our reality with our planning, and shifting to adjust as needed.
Which is all to say… we did a lot of writing work yesterday without me penning a single word for any of the books. We’re aiming for a huge output, though, which means I need to be organized and know where I’m going.
And I now know where we’re hoping to go.
In your writing, let me recommend you use some goal setting. Do you know when you hope to have the book written by? Not just “someday.” How about by the new year? How about by the end of the month? Set a day and shoot for it. You’re more likely to hit a goal you make.
And let me make one more recommendation: Celebrate when you hit a goal. When I finish a project, my business manager/ wife and I share chocolate chip cookies. Go find a way to celebrate when you hit those goals, too! You’ve earned it!