This article is the 4th in a series covering the necessary steps for creating a career plan.
We’re approaching the mountain peak. Can you see it in the distance? Oftentimes I think we assume our vision is the peak, but in reality, it is the broad base upon which we build our career plans…moving from the big picture to the little picture in concrete steps.
I was talking to my husband about this last night. He’s a manager at Intel and he said, ‘Honey, that’s just exactly what we do at work.’ He didn’t have to look so surprised…I do have a masters degree in management. Some of that stuff had to stick. The point I’m making with this though is that I hope the more deeply we get into the development of a career plan, the more you will see how the business side of writing fits dove and tail with your creative side. Writers are visionary. It’s only natural that characteristic would be applied to their own lives as authors.
I think goals are the most recognizable aspect of a career plan for the majority of us. We set goals in so many aspects of our lives…have been doing so since grammar school days. My daughter has a personal monthly reading goal for school and it has to increase every month. I applaud what her teacher is showing her about preparing for the future. Look ahead, strive for the next level, but be realistic.
Those are excellent bits of advice for us as well. In identifying your career objectives, I’m sure they felt like goals to you. In fact, they are to a certain extent ‘ long term goals. However, to make your career plan as effective as it can possibly be, you want to set incremental goals to make those objectives happen.
This is where we look at weekly, monthly and long term goals. Take one of your career objectives and ask yourself what needs to happen long term for that objective to be realized. For instance, Suzie Q. Author wanted to improve on her identified weaknesses as a writer. So a long term goal might be to identify those weaknesses. A monthly goal to achieve that end might be to enter a contest with significant feedback and several first round judges. A weekly goal to make this possible might be to polish the first three chapters on her WIP.
So, if you were looking at a slice of her Career Plan, you would see:
- Career Objective IV: Improve on identified weaknesses as a writer
- Long Term Goal 1. Identify weaknesses
- Monthly Goal A: Enter contest that judges Chapters 1 to 3 and a synopsis with two or more first round judges for each entry
- Weekly Goals:
- Research contests
- Polish chapters
- Polish synopsis
- Put together contest entry
Developing long-term goals to go with each of your career objectives and following those up with weekly goals to make them happen gives you a direction for your efforts to pursue your dreams. A career plan is the concrete embodiment of our dreams and I hope you have a better idea now of how to bring your dreams into the realm of reality.
Next month we’ll look at the final aspect to a career plan ‘ ways to stay on track.