Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Where Do the Days Go? - Creating a Writing Calendar

To paraphrase a famous management expert, “that which gets planned, gets done.” Writing of any appreciable length or complexity will have many different parts. Some will be dependent on other parts. Others can be completed on a more or less stand alone basis. The complexity can sometimes seem overwhelming. Many writers break down the project into its component pieces.
Once broken down into manageable chunks, writers will create a structured writing calendar. This helps them to take one piece at a time and create a set of deadlines around completing given parts of the book writing process.
Books that are being written, backed by publishing agreements, are aided by this process because missing a deadline with a publisher can have serious consequences. It is difficult to determine at the outset how long things will take. This is the nature of creative process. A calendar tells you how long you have. For this reason, a calendar can also be a constraint on the creative process. It is important to find the right balance between the need for completion and the need for creative excellence.
For example, a non-fiction writer often engages in significant research activity. In fact, as any writer/researcher can tell you, there will always be more to research. Setting a deadline around when research will end often helps writers to have a cutoff point, after which they will turn their attention to the writing so they can complete the work.
The point of a calendar is not to be a dictator, but to be an aid in helping the writer manage the competing priorities involved in completing the work.
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  1. Wow! That is a good idea! Now, if there was a formula to figure out how long each piece would take.

  2. Love the idea! I'm with 7th Woman -- any suggestions on the construction of such a calendar?

  3. Sometimes when I sit down I tell myself 'Okay, I want to finish (re)writing this part/page/chapter in X minutes/hours.' I rarely make my own 'deadline' but still it helps me to focus on the specific job at hand.

    Thanks for a solid, informative blog, Todd. Glad to be here!


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