Friday, December 28, 2012

With Decisive Intent

by Peg Brantley

Now that we can be fairly certain the world isn't coming to an end any time soon, we need to get some work done. Decisive Intent are my "creative" words for Strategic Planning, which sounds blah and reminds me of my former life.

It's important to think ahead, and to do that we have to understand where we've been, where we are now, and where we want to be in a year. This list is focused strictly on writing. Whether you're indie published, traditionally published, both, or wanting to be published, I think you'll find some value in exercising Decisive Intent for your career.

1. Have you clearly defined your goal as an author? Is it the same this year as it was last year?

2. What decisions have you made in 2012 that propelled you to your goal? What decisions have you made that didn't? This includes work habits, so don't pretend it doesn't.

3. What collaborations or groups have worked well for you? Which ones haven't? Are there some potential partnerships you'd like to explore?

4. How many books did you produce this year? Does that production schedule suit you or do you want to adjust it for 2013? If you want to increase your productivity, what has to happen to make that possible?

5. If you're writing a series, should it continue or should you begin a new one? If you aren't writing a series, should you?

6. Are your current business partnerships working well for you? This includes cover designers, editors, formatters, beta readers—as well as agents and publishers—anyone who is a member of your production team.

7. Did you invest in your continuing education last year? Did it pay off? What do you want to have happen in 2013 that will benefit your work?

8. Take a good look at your sales and expenses. I recently invested in QuickBooks and am able to see when a book becomes profitable. This also allows me to see more clearly what works and what doesn't. This is probably one of the best business tools you can give yourself as a writer.

9. What Kudos/Awards/Recognition/Milestones did you achieve in 2012? What do you want to achieve in 2013?

10. What social media options are really working for you? Which aren't? Is there something else that will allow you to reach your readers?

11. Do you need to expand or contract your publishing platforms?

12. Is your price point philosophy still sound?

13. Has your target audience changed?

14. Are you happy where you are right now? Are you writing in the genre you want? The amount you want? Are you happy being indie? Are you happy with your publisher? Is it all working for you and enhancing your life?

What else would you add?

My thanks to D.D.Scott  and The Writer's Guide to E-Publishing for providing much of the content for this post.


  1. I think you covered it. Great list! In addition, one of the things that I do every year at this time is to ask myself: How can I simply my life and processes? This is necessary, for me, because over the year, the clutter and complexity builds, the email subscriptions increase, and the noise becomes deafening. So I've purged hundreds of files and emails, unsubscribed to a handful of newsletters, and vowed to spend chunks of time every day offline. (We'll see how that goes. :)

    1. This reminds me of Reader Digest. I subscribed for years. Unfortunately, I didn't read them regularly. But, RD being RD, the stories and articles were often those that could be read years later and still be "current." So I saved them. I hid them under the sink in the powder room. Stacks and stacks of them. Years and years worth. Finally, one day I hauled them all out and put them in the trash. What an amazing relief!

  2. Thanks for this!!!! Happy New Year 2013!!!

    --Brenda W.

    P.S. I love reviewing past years this last week of the year each year.

    1. Thanks, Brenda. Sometimes it hurts a little more than others, but it's all beneficial. I wish you a terrific 2013!

  3. Excellent list, Peg! Thanks a lot for compiling it and sharing it with us!

    1. That means a lot coming for the best list compiler of all time. Have a fabulous New Year, Jodie.

  4. Balance is a big issue for me and a goal I plan to strive for improving this year. I tend to be a bit lopsided. I lean too far into my professional well-being and lose focus of everything else. I work too hard and play too little. So in the upcoming year, I plan (or hope) to force myself to put aside time to live a little more. It might not sound like a goal that will improve my career, but I think it will help keep my mind clear of the clutter that builds when it's overloaded by one-sidedness.

    1. Getting a little balance may not seem like it has a direct correlation to your career TODAY, but my bet is that it will help extend and elevate your career in the future.

  5. An excellent list, Peg. I'm printing it so I can sit down in my easy chair with a pen and pad and figure out my answers.

    1. Thanks, Patricia. I hope it helps put you in a stronger position than you already enjoy.

  6. Thanks for this superb compilation, Peg --

    It's a straightforward list with all the right "hard questions."

    With your permission, I'd like to reprint this for my readers at SoWrite. I would only use your introduction and then link "read more" to this post.

    Here's to a happy and prosperous New Year for all of us. ~Jim

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