I am hoping that 2015 will be a year filled with excitement and new developments for all of us.  But unless we take actions to plan for the new challenges, we perhaps will waste some precious time.  I have included an article by Matt Newnan who has some good ideas on how we can start the year ready preparing for what lies ahead of us.  I hope you enjoy it s such as I did.

“Writing isn’t planned, it’s creative and writers just sit, stare out at landscapes and pen their words; they don’t really work”

“Writers cannot work with structure; they need to be a free spirit”

Both of the above are fairly true but the most successful authors have a plan in place and they stick to it. Yes creativity strikes when creativity strikes but to ensure the inspiration doesn’t just equal perspiration with limited results structure is needed.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” and this is as true for a writer as it is any other profession, and whether you are a full-time, published author or just dabbling in writing, without a plan you are heading very close to nowhere. A plan for a writer need not be complex but to gain success in the year ahead it is essential; even if it is just a list of objectives that you need to complete it is needed.

When writing a book or when submitting a simple article such as this a deadline is given and must be met. Deadlines serve a purpose to help the publisher manage their side of the written word to ensure your work reaches the right people at the right time. The deadline impacts budgets, there are always costs when writing and managing these is where deadlines come in. More importantly where there is a deadline their needs to be a plan, there must be structure as writers can be and usually are easily distracted and often lost deep inside their work. The plan is a reminder that something needs to be done.

When you begin any work that you want published, whether it be self-published, published via a literary agent or publishing house, a magazine or even a blog, the first thing that needs to be noted is the deadline. Once this is known, and especially if you are working on multiple projects as I am – my novel, my website content, my magazine articles and this post – having a clear plan of work is essential. Just having a simple spreadsheet or even diary not just with deadlines but a countdown towards your deadline can make a tremendous difference to the success of your writing.

I personally work of a spreadsheet that contains submission dates, subjects, editor’s notes and publisher’s notes. I keep the document on Google Docs as well as on my laptop and can access it from my cellphone so I am always aware of where I am. My writing, whilst creative is managed as if I am running a tight sales operation. The spreadsheet is the first thing look at every day and when I complete a task, as I will do with this post, I check off the item and mark it as complete. It takes only a minute or two and it frees up hours of my time each day. The spreadsheet allows me to be kept up to date and keeps me focused and gives me the peace of mind to know that I know what is on time and what is falling behind.

Managing your deadlines will make 2015 a success

If you can do one thing to get yourself better positioned for 2015 then manage your deadlines better by putting a simple plan in place with deadlines, even if you set the deadlines yourself, you will become much more productive. You will also find that your creativity soars, the peace of mind knowing you are on track and even ahead of a deadline is such a powerful thing. Make 2015 the year of being planned, take a few minutes

Having spent 18 years in Sales and Marketing management internationally, Matt Newnham lives in Cape Town and is a motivational speaker who writes for a variety of publications and websites globally. Currently writing his first novel – The Seed Shepherds – he writes both fiction and non-fiction.

each day to plan and your creative time will become more prosperous and you will have started a habit that changes your writing life!