Module 2: Planning
Creating a Writing Project Plan, Part Two
Keith Ogorek, senior vice president of marketing for Author Solutions and a published author, shares his tips on how to finish writing your book. He walks you through creating a writing project plan, with steps that include managing a writing schedule, setting deadlines for yourself, finding a place to write most effectively and learning to make adjustments to stay on track.
Hi, I'm Keith Ogorek. I'm glad that you're going to spend some time watching the second part of the webinar, "Creating a Writing Project Plan." In part one, we looked at the importance of identifying your goals, identifying your audience and knowing the genre you're writing in. In part two, we're going to look at why it's so critical for you to create a writing schedule, why you need to set deadlines for yourself, how you find a writing sanctuary where you can write most effectively, and what to do to make adjustments and stay on schedule. So let's get started.
Managing your writing schedule is one of the key things to writing a book. What most people do is create a checklist. Include everything from research to character development, first drafts, rewrites and proofreading – all the things that you're going to need to do to actually complete your project. Then, once you create your task list, create deadlines for yourself: be specific, measurable, make sure that it's achievable and realistic. Don't say that you're going to write your first draft in six days when more realistically is probably six weeks. But make sure that you set some timelines that are realistic, ones that you can achieve, but also things that you can do to keep yourself moving along.
And perhaps the most important thing you need to do is make time to write regularly. For many authors, it needs to be a daily habit. Writing every day keeps you submerged in your ideas, but it also helps you produce a steady stream of work. You will find that it will grow as you find different things hit you as a writer. Some days you may write longer, some days you may write shorter, but the key is to have a regular time that you write so that you continue to produce work. If you only write when you feel like you're in the mood, you'll find that your work will never get done, because it's very rare that you find the optimal situation, optimal conditions for you to write. What I suggest to most authors is they put an appointment on their calendar, and even if they write 500 words, or they write 5,000 words, it's just that they're moving their story along, and that's the most important thing.
What also helps is if you have what I call a "writing sanctuary." Find a place free of distractions, and before you begin writing, make sure you gather everything you need. Clear the area of things that distract you, and keep your schedule. I will tell you, for myself, I like to write in my office at home. I've tried to sit out on our screened-in porch, I've tried to sit in our family room, and every time I sit there, I'm distracted by either wanting to watch television or the sounds of nature. So I put myself in my office where I can shut the door, free of distractions and write very effectively there. I think if you watch yourself and think about where you've written most effectively, you'll have a writing sanctuary as well.
And then lastly, after you've created your plan, set your deadlines, set a time to write regularly, and know where your writing sanctuary is, you want to make adjustments to stay on track. Perhaps if you set a time to take six weeks for your first draft, but you found you took eight weeks to find your first draft, don't get discouraged. Make sure that you just make adjustments in your schedule along the way. And if you find out that you're having a hard time writing on a regular basis, try and figure out if it's because of the time of the day that you're scheduling it, or if it's a weekday versus a weekend, or the location. Just make adjustments as you go. The key is to set a plan that you can keep and stay on task with, because if you do, you will get to your goal of becoming a published author.
Well that concludes part two of "Creating a Writing Project Plan." I hope you found the information helpful, and even motivational, as you start your journey as an author. In our next webinar, we're going to look at creating a plan for your book so that after you've written your manuscript, your book becomes everything you envisioned it to be. For information on publishing, feel free to contact a publishing consultant at LifeRich Publishing for a free consultation.