Monday, May 23, 2011

The Anatomy of a Plan

It might be optimistic to plan out an entire summer’s worth of writing, but I need structure if I am going to tackle these massive projects. As I’ve talked about before, I face serious problems with burnout if I focus on a project as a whole. I need to break my workload into a systematic daily routine, otherwise the whole project crumbles. It has taken almost two years to understand my work habits, but I believe they are starting to take shape.

Tools have been a frequent subject on this blog, but this summer I will be utilizing a few new ones. To start, Google Calendar will be used to plan my work hours, days, and writing goals. I’ve set critical deadlines. More than that, I’ve drafted personal notes on how to meet each of these. Documentation is the word here. I’m hoping that by mapping out the process, I can eliminate any uncertainty about my book and other writing projects (like this blog).

Dropping the pantser mentality is difficult, but having a 20,000 word outline is a fine first step. For the next week, I plan to tweak and edit the outline until it shines, then do it again. I’m hoping that this process will smooth out a few plot holes before they happen and ultimately save me time in the end. Knowing what I am going to write the next day is a huge load off of my mind, and should allow me to stay focused.

I have a feeling that this last one is going to hurt me, but I am setting work hours, and they are early. I will be getting a bit more sleep than during my normal day job, which should be helpful, but I can’t trust myself without a schedule. I know myself too well, and it would lead too many late mornings leading into afternoons without anything to show for them. Essentially I will be turning my writing into the full time job it needs to be.

I’m sure many of you have seen these tactics littered around the internet before. I picked them up from blogs and trusted sources on writing. I’m going to document how well it works when a regular Joe tries to be a professional. Structure in my writing life is as much a work in progress as my novel. I’m sure I’ll find things that work and others that do not, but the path is in front of me, and we’ll see where the next three months take me.

3 comments:

  1. I know this is similar to my previous post, but I wanted to get some details out there.

    I've also wondered this: how has your planning changed since you started writing?

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  2. I plan, and then my plans fall apart. The only thing I can seem to actually stick to is a deadline date--because even if it means writing for 12 hours straight, I will meet deadlines.

    Everything in between just seems to be hit or miss for me.

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  3. I've done that before, and those last few days are always stressful. I pretty much did that for my entire college experience as well. I'd butter up a teacher enough to turn in old assignments and do a semesters worth of work in a week.

    The reason I am planning so much is to try to break that pattern. I'm not sure if it will work, but that is why I added deadlines along with daily goals.

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