What are your writing Have-tos, Need-tos and Want-tos?



It’s all about priorities, isn’t it?

I am leaving out the have-tos, need-tos and want-tos that hover around the affairs of our ordinary lives.  Those are challenges unto themselves.

Let’s focus just on those three categories as they pertain to the writing life.


1.  Develop a plan for your writing.

I suspect everyone thought I would say that number one on the list was “write.”  It isn’t.  Writers by definition are people who can write about anything, at any time. Give us a topic and leave us alone.  We can take it from there.

Therein lies the problem.  Because the world is so full, contains so  much for us to choose from, it can overpower us. In order to be really productive, a writer needs goals.  Without a plan to provide some structure for his work, the writer can spend all his time working on things that are fun for him, but not executing a plan that furthers his writing career.

In my day job, I am deadline driven.  I know certain things have to be done by certain dates.  I know what I have to do to get from the beginning to the end of a case, the things that are essential, the things that would be nice add-ons and the things that are purely optional.  I can’t spend my time on the optional material at the expense of the essential.

So, what plan am I suggesting?  I believe it will vary with each author.  In the world of independent publishing, writers often don’t face any deadlines except those they impose on themselves.  To keep moving forward, I believe a writer must impose such deadlines and stick with them.

By way of example, I am working now on a new short-form piece of fiction. I plan to have it ready to go (by that I mean ready to list for sale through KDP) by August 3, 2012.  My other projects in process are a book on writing and publishing co-authored with Caleb Pirtle and my sixth full-length novel. I am shooting to have these completed by mid-October.

My other writing have-tos on a definite weekly schedule are blogs.  I post five per week, Monday through Friday, and occasionally something on the weekend.  But weekend posts are a want-to.


2. Develop a plan for getting the word out about your writing.

I don’t believe anyone has figured out the best plan for book promotion.  But, at the same time, I think a lot of people are experimenting and developing innovative approaches to it.  The nature of the digital beast is that it changes day to day.  What worked a year ago is ancient  history and what will work six months from now is a mystery.  To keep up with it, the writer must read what others are doing, share thoughts about what has worked for him and what has not worked.  In so doing, writers can help each other to succeed. That’s what it’s all about, helping each other.

For me, the things that seem to work all center around creating fresh content to make available on social media.  Blogging is a top priority.  On the heels of that comes utilizing Twitter and its sibling or first cousin Triberr to share the content.  Through Triberr, a writer can circulate blogs of fellow writers to help them get the word out.

Okay, I can tell I’m not going to make it to the need-tos and want-tos. That’s because I am going to adhere to one of those self-imposed rules I mentioned above.  That rule is that I should keep a blog to about 500-600 words.

I just  hit 600 words, so I am shutting this baby down for right now.

What are your writing have-tos?  I hope you will take the time to add a brief comment about them.


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