1. Understand Your “Why”
Knowing what your reason is for writing will give you momentum when times are tough or you don’t feel like writing. Maybe you want to make enough income from your writing that you can stay home with your kids, buy a new car, or build up income for retirement. That “why”, if you use it to remind yourself, will help you make choices about your time that you might not make otherwise.
2. Plan Your Writing Time
Don’t wait until the mood strikes you or the house is in perfect order—or whatever it is that you think has to happen before you sit down and write. The circumstances you think you need before everything can come together may never exist, or exist so infrequently that you never get anything written.
Put an actual time on your calendar and stick to that time.
3. Develop A Business Mindset
Unless you’re writing as a hobby or want to leave private letters to heirs, you’re in business. Writers often have a tough time seeing themselves this way, but that’s a mistake. Even if you’re published by a traditional publisher, you have to promote your work. The easiest time to start is before you need to have an email list to which you can send missives about your book. Developing the kind of relationship where the person on the receiving end of that email feels good about your communication with them takes time.
Learn the ropes by following other writers who are making an income with their books. This doesn’t come from reading Facebook posts made by people who have one or two books on Amazon and suddenly designate themselves as experts. You want to follow those who have a track record of either having bestselling books themselves or those who successfully market bestselling books.
Sometimes learning has a price tag. There are people who think everything should be free . . . except, of course, when it comes to their own material. The laws of reciprocity work in your favor when you treat the intellectual property of others the same way you’d like your knowledge to be treated.
4. Plan Your Marketing Time
Just as with your writing time, you need to set aside time to market. Marketing can take many forms, but unless you plan your approach, nothing happens. Don’t wait to start marketing the day after you’ve uploaded your book to Amazon. You want to have a sense of ease and comfort when the book you treasure is finally launched, knowing that you can systematically begin your marketing approach.
5. Plan S.M.A.R.T.
S.M.A.R.T. goals are goals that are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound.
For example, you might set a goal to earn $200,000 (specific, measureable and results-focused) in 2016 (time-bound). If your earnings from your books in 2015 were $150,000, then your goal certainly meets the achievable requirement as well, making this a good (SMART) goal.
If you’re planning to create a new book or finish one you’ve started, look at the end-goal. Maybe it’s 80,000 words. Break that down into how many words you need to write a day or week to make a specific deadline.
Habits combined with goals will help you become the success you want to be—in every area of life.
“Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.” Tom Landry