This is a special morning. Last night I received Randy Ingermanson's newsletter filled with lots of writing and marketing goodies. As Randy has given permission to
post this on either email or websites, I thought I'd post this. In three installments. Today is Vision For Excellence. This discusses where you want your career and your next book to go. Keeping focused on your ultimate writing goals. It's something that's important to me--and, if you're a writer, or in any profession, for that matter, it might be important to you. The first part gives you an index of what to expect in his E Zine. I'll post each one in the next few days. So, here goes. Enjoy.
Publisher: Randy Ingermanson ("the Snowflake guy")
Motto: "A Vision for Excellence"
Date: December 6, 2011
Issue: Volume 7, Number 12
Home Pages: http://www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com
Circulation: 29030 writers, each of them creating a
Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.
"Fiction Writing = Organizing + Creating + Marketing"
* If you don't have Vision for what you want to be as a
novelist, then your career is going to be severely
handicapped. Do you know what Vision is . . . and how
you get it? Read my organizing article, "The Vision
* Are you a rule-lover or a rule-hater? Do you know
when rules can help you, and when they can bring you
down? Check out my article on creation, "The Real Rules
of Fiction Writing."
* It's hard to make a living as a fiction writer,
right? Or is it? Is it remotely possible that you could
make a decent living? For some of my latest thoughts on
this, read my marketing column, "1000 True Fans."
Are you reading my blog? Join the fun here:
Organizing: The Vision Thing
Last month, I talked about three essential skills you
need if you want to succeed in any business -- Vision,
Strategy, and Tactics.
This month, we'll look at Vision in more detail.
Different people mean different things by "Vision." If
you've ever read a corporate Vision Statement bogged
down with baloney buzzwords about "creating value" and
"leveraging competitive differences" and "managing
knowledge," then you know the hazard of vague
When I talk about Vision, I mean just this -- something
specific and difficult and worthwhile that you want to
do or to have or to be.
Finishing a marathon or bringing clean water to a Third
World village or getting your Ph.D. are all specific
and difficult and worthwhile things you might want to
A house or a business or a racehorse are all things you
might want to have.
A doctor or a grandmaster or a published novelist are
things you might want to be.
Vision is personal. It's up to you to decide what you
want to do or have or be. Your family and friends might
not get why it's important to you. That's their
problem. Your problem is to do or get or become
whatever it is you envision.
If you're a writer, you need both a Vision for your
career and a Vision for each individual book you write.
Why do you need Vision for your career? That's simple.
It gives you a clear and simple guideline for saying
"yes" and saying "no" to everything that comes your
If your writing is any good at all, you'll eventually
be bombarded with excellent ideas from people about
what you "ought" to do. Books you ought to write.
People you ought to collaborate with. Projects you
ought to join. Agents you ought to talk to. Editors you
ought to work with.
If you have no clear Vision for what you want your
career to look like, you'll quickly get sidetracked
with other people's excellent ideas.
You need to be able to say, "Sorry, that's not part of
the vision I have for my career." And you need to be
able to recognize the rare opportunity that comes along
that fits squarely with your Vision.
What's your Vision for your career?
This really boils down to the following set of
* What kind of books do you want to write? (The
category or categories, the style, etc.)
* What kind of publisher do you want to work with?
* What kind of reader do you want to appeal to?
("Everybody" is not a good answer here.)
* What authors would you like to be compared to?
Maybe you want to write intellectual spy novels,
published by a Big Six publisher, appealing to
well-educated people who love John LeCarre novels.
Or maybe you want to write quiet Amish romances,
published by a Christian publisher, appealing to Bible
Belt readers who like Bev Lewis.
Or maybe you want to write young adult dystopic fantasy
novels, published by a small independent publisher, and
appealing to kids who like Suzanne Collins.
When you have a clear Vision for your career, you have
instant guidelines on which kinds of writing books you
should buy, what authors you should read, what
storylines you should think about, what conferences you
should go to, what agents you should talk to, what
editors would be first on your list to meet.
Once you've defined the Vision for your career, you can
refine that for each book you want to write. You don't
have to write exactly the same kind of book for the
rest of your life. So long as the Vision for each book
fits within your broad career Vision, you've got plenty
What's your Vision for the book you're working on right
This Vision may be identical to your career Vision, or
you might need to narrow it down even further:
* Exactly which category and subcategory will this book
* Can you name five to ten publishers who would be
suitable publishers for this book?
* Can you narrow down the target audience for your
book? Can you envision one particular reader who would
be perfect in every way for this book?
* Which best-selling novel would you like the reviewers
to compare your book to?
You either see the value of having a Vision or your
If you do, then take five minutes right now to write
down your Vision for your career.
Don't worry about making it profound. Worry about
making it specific.
Don't worry about whether it fits other people's ideas
of what you should work on. Worry about making sure
that it fits YOUR idea of what you want to work on.
Don't worry about getting it perfect, because you can
always improve it later. Worry about getting it down on
paper where you can be inspired by it every day.
If you survived writing your Vision for your career,
take ten minutes and try to focus that down to a Vision
for the current book you're working on.
This will usually be a bit more specific than your
career Vision, so it will take a little longer.
That's it. Fifteen minutes of hard work can keep you on
track for years.
Permission is granted to use any of the articles in
this e-zine in your own e-zine or web site, as long as
you include the following 2-paragraph blurb with it:
Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, "the
Snowflake Guy," publishes the Advanced Fiction Writing
E-zine, with more than 29,000 readers, every month. If
you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction,
AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND
have FUN doing it, visit
Download your free Special Report on Tiger Marketing
and get a free 5-Day Course in How To Publish a Novel.
Publisher, Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine
I hope you enjoyed today's writing feature. Hope you enjoy tomorrow's episode:
Creating: The Real Rules of Writing Fiction