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#IWSG Yes, I’ve got a Crystal Ball. (I just don’t know how to use it!)

December IWSG:

It’s that time of the month again. Wait, that doesn’t sound right! What I mean is that it’s time to write an #IWSG post. (What’s that, you ask? Scroll down; I explain it there!)



I have a crystal ball - but I don't know how to see the future! (photo by Tui Snider)
I have a crystal ball – but I don’t know how to see the future! (photo by Tui Snider)

IWSG Question of the Month

As for my writing insecurities this month, they tie right into the #IWSG question of the month, which is:

DECEMBER’S QUESTION: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

With 2016 winding down, I’ve been looking back at the year, assessing where I hit the mark and where I dropped the ball. I haven’t sat down with pen and paper and really spelled it all out, but I definitely want a clear plan for 2017, a plan full of measurable goals.

But where do I want to my writing career to be in 2021? Wow! Seems so far away. Hmmm… You can’t tell from where you’re sitting, but I’ve been staring at my screen blankly for several minutes trying to answer that!

How do *you* look into the future? Any tips or tools?

I wish I had a crystal ball. Wait, I actually have a crystal ball as you can see in the photo above! I just don’t know how to use it. (And there’s a fun story behind how I got the crystal ball, but I’ll share that another day!)

Since I’m not clear on the best way to look ahead, I thought I’d look to the past. What was going on with my writing in 2011? Much has changed! For one thing, 5 years ago I hadn’t published any books. Since 2014, I’ve published 4 books and have several more on the way. Back in 2011, however, my main focus was writing for travel magazines. Publishing a book seemed like more of a pipe dream than a reality!

One thing I was doing 5 years ago, though, was attending writing conferences and voraciously studying various ways to make a living as a writer. I didn’t attend a writing conference in 2016, but the voracious study continues!

OK… So, I still don’t feel clear enough to lay out my grand 5 year plan in this post, but it is something I am going to work on this month. To accomplish this clarity, I’ve set aside 30 minutes of creative brainstorming time each night after I get my father-in-law tucked in bed.

What about you? Do you have any tips or tools that you use for planning ahead with your writing career? If so, let me know!

What is IWSG?

IWSG stands for “Insecure Writers Support Group.” It’s a monthly check-in for writers of all stripes. Its creator, Alex J. Cavanaugh, describes ISWG like this:

“Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!” – Alex J. Cavanaugh

1-Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

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  1. Tui, it was inspirational to read your post. You are doing so well. I, too, love travel and photography. Am currently touring the wine regions of the Hunter Valley north of Sydney, Australia. Awesome.

  2. Oh wow–2011…what a good idea! SO much has changed for me, too, since then. It just reminds me how much the work we do every single day contributes to the bigger picture. It’s easy to lose sight of that. Your post gave me an all new perspective on things!

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Hi, Stephanie! Yeah, somehow looking back really helped me to dream bigger when looking ahead. Hope it works for you. Thank you so much for dropping by my blog. :D ~Tui

  3. I agree with Patricia, but I didn’t know about the bestseller lists! Congrats, girl!

    I love planning, but it always goes out the window when life happens. For instance, this year a writing friend told me about a Harlequin search for the “next Gillian Flynn.” I entered, and they were crazy enough to choose me. So what was I going to do? My previous plan went bye-bye so I could write a book for them.

    Plans are great, as long as you can adjust as needed. Happy holidays!

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Thank you! Yeah, my first 2 books pretty much camp out in the top 10 for Dallas – Fort Worth Travel. I wish Amazon would tell us when our books hit #1. I’m too busy writing to check out the rankings all day!

      Congrats to you on being the next Gillian Flynn! I didn’t know about that, but I’m not surprised. You’re always on an adventure, aren’t you? :) At any rate, fun opportunities are the perfect excuse to alter one’s plans! Thank you so much for dropping by! :)

  4. You’ve done a lot in 5 years. And don’t forget your books hitting some best seller lists. Maybe not having a plan won’t hinder you.

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Good points, Patty! Maybe I don’t actually need to look that far ahead! :D

  5. Like the crystal ball picture. The best plan I think, for me, is keep it siimple, with small and attainable goals leading to one big goal. I’m starting with my habits and creating new positive writing habits that take toward my goal. Great post.

    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Thank, Juneta! I like the idea of simplifying my goals and really honing in on the ones that are the most important. Sometimes I try to do too many things. :)

  6. You’ve accomplished a lot in 5 years! I think it’s safe to say that you can probably expect just as much or more in the next 5 years. OR, if you accomplish less, it will be because you have spent more time building on and working on what you are accomplishing. I guess that’s one of the great things about getting older: everything you do, everything you learn builds on itself. :)

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Thanks, Mandy! It was actually really eye-opening to look back 5 years. I’ve been so focused on the now that I didn’t really appreciate how far I’d come, y’know? Thanks again for dropping by! :)

  7. I believe if it worked in the past it will work in the future. Never stop learning about the craft. It seems to work like a snowball rolling down a mountainside. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Hi, Anna! Yeah, I love learning and research, and there is just so much to learn, isn’t there? It’s never ending, but I’m grateful for that. We’ll never be bored, will we? Thanks for dropping by! :)

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