01 April 2010

Plot Your Writing Schedule

1) Give yourself a deadline for your writing project where ever you are in your writing life right now today:
  • Finish the first draft
  • Write the final draft
  • Submitting the completed manuscript
2) Mark a big red X on your deadline day and write in your concrete long-term goal. Example: by June 1st, I hold in my hands the completed first draft of my manuscript 
(NOTE: best if written in present tense. The mystics say time is non-linear. If that's true, it means your goal has already been accomplished and you have only to catch up in real time.)

3) Work backwards on the calendar. Count the number of days between today and your deadline that you can realistically write. Example: 61 days total

4) Ask yourself how many words, pages you can write in a day. Example: 5 pages

5) Estimate how many pages your entire first draft. Example: 320 pages total

6) Where are you now? Example: Page 100

7) How many pages left? 230 total

8) Calculate how many days total needed to write the pages left at the rate you currently write. Example: 46 days total needed to write 230 pages at 5 pages per day. 

9) Subtract the number of total days needed from the total number of days between now and your deadline. Example: 46 from the total number of days between now and your deadline 61 = 16 extra days. 
(NOTE: with appropriately 8 weeks between now and the deadline of June 1st, you have a safety net of 1.8 days. In other words if you can't write one day, you can still make your deadline.)

10) Mark a daily schedule on your calendar not taking into account the extra days.

The concrete task of scheduling times and goals for each writing day makes you more realistic about your writing goals, allows you to visualize your writing life, gives you the short-term goals necessary to achieve your long term goal.

Now, the question is, what's your writing dream?