In clearing out some of the multitude of papers in my stacks, I noticed a neat pamphlet entitled “Planning for Emergencies: Three Steps to be Prepared.” Step one is ‘create a plan.’ Have a plan so your family will know what to do or where to meet during a time of emergency. Step two is ‘prepare a kit’ to help enable survival. Step three is ‘listen for information’ to best know how to proceed.
It hit me like a thump on the head: You know what? The three-step plan applies to writing, too!
Step one is ‘create a plan.’
Know what idea you are basing your story upon and where you want your story to go. If you don’t have some idea of where you are going with what you write, your story may become lost and die.
Step two is ‘prepare a kit.’
In writing, this means to figure out the essentials (characters, background, character goals, setting, time period, etc.) you need for your story to live. Once you have your survival kit together, you are much more prepared. Your work has a better chance for going the distance to the happily-ever-after chapter.
Step three is ‘listen for information.’
For a writer listening for information may encompass researching (murder weapons, social rules, legal standpoints), or simply being willing to listen to what your critique partner says about improving your work. Perhaps it also includes finding those critique partners so you have sources of feedback, to give your written work the best possible chance for survival on the market.
So what does this mean?
A writer with a Plan A in place, like the family who is prepared for an emergency, is more likely to be successful and to thrive.