Recently I started a new (day) job. I was really excited, so in anticipation of the new position, I read The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins. The book basically outlines a set of strategies to ensure the reader is on the track to success from day one.

As I read it, I realized—despite its corporate/management focus, some of Watkins’ tips are applicable to writing projects as well!


Photo by Edward Liu

Promote Yourself

Every writer needs a platform. Tell people what you’re working on. Give drafts to your friends and family to read. Blog. Promote.

Accelerate Your Learning

Whether you’re writing your first novel or your tenth, you’re going to face a new challenge. Don’t just stumble through the learning curve, take control! Does your character have a profession you know nothing about? Start interviewing! First time doing a creative writing project? Sign up for a writing class!

Match Strategy to Situation

In the book, the author discusses the importance of correctly identifying the situation when starting a new job. One’s approach to a start up, for example, should be different from her strategy for a company in desperate need of a turnaround.

There is a lot of advice out there for writers. Before embarking on a strategy, make sure you have correctly identified your situation. Are you really a novice, or actually an experienced writer trying out a new style? Writing genre fiction? Then maybe you should read up on the rules your novel should follow.

7 More Tips

In The First 90 Days, Watkins goes through ten different strategies, which is too many to get into detail here. However, they are still useful to consider in this context:

  • Secure Early Wins
  • Negotiate Success
  • Achieve Alignment
  • Build Your Team
  • Create Coalitions
  • Keep Your Balance
  • Expedite Everyone
Do you apply strategies from another job to your writing?


Take fifteen minutes to write about someone entering into a new experience. Share with us below!

Monica M. Clark
Monica M. Clark
Monica is a lawyer trying to knock out her first novel. She lives in D.C. but is still a New Yorker. You can follow her on her blog or on Twitter (@monicamclark).