“Strategy smategy” — that’s what a classic entrepreneur I once knew used to say whenever anyone talked to her about having some kind of plan in hand instead of operating by the seat of her pants. She felt her wing-it approach supported her creativity. Sometimes it did, but it often simply created chaos.
Strategy is defined as a plan of action designed to achieve a particular long-term goal. Put into action and fine-tuned as needed, over time, it can be a road map to results, enabling us to improve our skills, handle ups and downs, and make steady progress.
Despite all these benefits, thinking strategically is something we writers often resist. Strategy is a word many of us associate with business — and that’s actually a plus, because as authors, we need to bring business acumen to our writing careers. In fact, to succeed, we need to think strategically and act like entrepreneurs. Someone’s even coined a word for this role: “authorpreneur.”
So let’s broaden our view of what it means to be an author and look at what’s involved in creating a multifaceted writing strategy — one we can use as a touchstone and a plan of action to improve our writing skills and craft a career.
Strategy comes into play in several arenas for us as writers: First, we need a draft development strategy — a game plan for getting a rough draft out of our head and onto the page. Second, we need a revision strategy — a game plan for rewriting our work until it’s deeper, stronger, better, truer. Third, we need a setback strategy: a game plan for how we’ll handle the inevitable obstacles that we’ll face both on the page and in the publishing world. And finally, we need a publishing strategy: a game plan for getting our work out into the world once we’ve polished it until it snaps and sparkles.
Sounds like a lot of planning, I know — and yet taking some time to create a road map in each of these areas can be time well spent: It can improve our performance and boost our confidence at every stage, from draft to publication. Write on!