I recently made my first ever five-year plan, and let me tell you; it was a journey. Not only did it help me figure out my next steps, but it also made me realise some goals I didn’t know I had. 

Establish goals

I began making a five-year plan by envisioning what kind of accomplishment I would want to accomplish in the next five years. I specifically did this for my writing career. I keep an ‘impossible list’ for other goals. This plan was specific, targeted and career-related.

I ended up with a list of seven things, though when I looked closer, two of them weren’t stand-alone goals. They were a part of the other things I wanted to accomplish. So I deleted them and ended up with a tidy list of five things.

  1. Earn minimum wage for where I live
  2. Have an MA with no student debt
  3. Publish my first novel
  4. Publish a poetry collection
  5. Have Imposter’s Guide releasing regular content and growing

I wanted my five-year goals to be realistic and accomplishable. For me, some of these goals will be tough, but by making smart decisions, they will be achievable. 

Next steps

This is where you want to look at the next steps. The things that you can do to accomplish your five-year goals. 

Earn minimum wage for my country

This one doesn’t immediately look like a writing goal. However, I’d love to earn this amount of money to facilitate writing as either a part-time or full-time job.

There are a couple of things I can do to reach this goal. 

  • I could get a part-time job
  • I could publish more content on Medium. That is something I’m already working on, but there is always room for growth
  • Work on the successful launch of my business
  • Work on my self-discipline so that I can stick to my routines and pursue my business dreams

You’ll notice that I can achieve this monetary goal either through my writing or an external source, i.e. a part-time job. Making money from writing is my ultimate goal, but that isn’t always realistic. 

Instead, my goal is to have enough money to spend my time writing. 

Have an MA with no student loan

I’m in a privileged position. I started studying much later in life, so I had some savings. I was a chef in my former years and started working at sixteen but had to do a career shift because of an injury. 

I didn’t have the time, money or desire to go to a traditional brick and mortar school, so instead, I went to The Open University to get my BA. This was significantly cheaper. My entire degree only cost me around £7,000. Because of this, I got my degree without debt. 

My MA is a little bit more expensive, and I don’t exactly have the funds for it yet, but I have a year before I need to pay for the last year of my study. Fingers crossed that Medium money starts coming in!

All jokes aside, being debt-free is important to me. I don’t like debt in any capacity. Student debt feels particularly predatory and a little bit dystopian to my writer’s brain. It makes me feel uncomfortable. 

If I don’t make enough money to pay for my course, I’ll be waiting a year or two to save up enough. There’s still plenty of room in the five-year plan to take a break from education to save up money. 

Publish my first novel 

This goal is well underway. I’m just about finishing the developmental edit, so I just have to do a line edit, a rewrite and then a proofread. 

One of the hardest parts will be figuring out which publishing path I want to go down. 

Next steps include researching the pitfalls and benefits of each path because I currently don’t know that much about either publishing method, along with finishing and polishing my manuscript.

Publish a poetry collection

This one through me through a loop. 

I had no idea that this was something I wanted to do. 

I published my first poetry collection under my maiden name before I had any professional writing education. I thought perhaps one poetry collection would be enough, but clearly, I have more I want to write in this medium. 

My next steps for this goal include:

  • Deciding on a topic or theme
  • Making space in my calendar for poetry writing
  • Figuring out how many poems I’m aiming for
  • Curating the best poems from my writing time
  • Designing art for the book
  • Editing and proofreading the poems themselves

Have Imposter’s Guide releasing regular content and growing

Again this one is already underway, and partly why you’re reading this article now. 

My next steps involved creating a publishing schedule, nailing down the content I wanted to make and giving myself deadlines. 

I’m still working on release dates for the actual guides, but I’m giving myself plenty of time to get this right. 

You only get to launch a business once. 

My goals will eventually include hiring a team of staff to help me with marketing, design, publishing, website maintenance and eventually merch.

Dream big, right?

First Steps

First steps are precisely what they say on the tin. You have your main goal, you’ve established the steps you need to take to make the big goal happen, Now you need to pinpoint the very first steps. 

Have a look at your next steps and figure out the order in which you’ll have to do them. Then.. start. 

Remember that a five-year plan isn’t something for future you. It’s something for you right now. 

A five-year plan helps you see where your priorities lie and should be revisited each year to make sure your goals haven’t changed. 

Life is complex, and priorities often shift, make sure you keep your plans up to date. 

Changing your priorities isn’t a wrong or bad thing, but you should keep up to date with your feelings surrounding the bigger goals in your life.

As always, I cannot wait to see you on the bookshelf.