by Christine Sine
This is the second post in a series on my experience of writing a book
Step Four: Set up a schedule for the entire project.
This is a very important part of writing your book. You can’t write only when you feel inspired or motivated. You must create a regular writing habit.
At the beginning of my current writing project, I used Meistertask, a free planning software to help me visualize my entire project and the tasks involved in each part. I divided it into research, writing, publishing and marketing with specific tasks and timelines in each of these. It was very helpful for me as I visualized what I needed to do, but less helpful once I began writing. I am not a detail person and I think that the detail it encouraged me to use was a little overwhelming.
I also find that spelling out my weekly schedule in detail, blocking out time not just for the writing project but for other responsibilities like household duties, time with family and friends, self care, spiritual disciplines and exercise help me keep focused and on track. Looking at my commitments as a whole has helped me relax and have fun in the writing process without overextending myself.
Things to consider:
- Overall schedule: When would you like to complete your manuscript? How many words will you have to write each week in order to accomplish this?
- Research schedule: How much preliminary research will you need to do before you start writing? How long is that likely to take before you can begin writing?
- Writing Schedule: When are you most alert and productive during your day? Can you block out time during that part of the day for writing? What is the optimal length of time you can write for at one stretch. Mine is 2-3 hours, my husband can work in 5-10 hour blocks in a day. Write it on your schedule to see how realistic this looks with your other commitments. Does your proposed schedule feel comfortable or is it overwhelming? What other priorities need to be taken into consideration?
- Publication Schedule: how long will it take from the time you complete your manuscript for review, rewriting and editing before you are able to submit it to the publisher? What is the editorial process that the publisher uses? How long will it take for the book to be published once it has been submitted?
- Marketing Schedule: What kind of platform do you already have established that will help you market this book? What do you need to establish between now and the publication of the book?
Step Five: Create a relaxing and fun environment.
Find a spot in your home where you feel relaxed and ready to write. Maybe it’s your office, a standing desk, or your dining room table. Decide exactly what you need in advance so you’re prepared every day when you sit down to write. Do you need music playing? If so, what kind? Are you distracted by background noise and conversation or by messiness in your space? How can you avoid these? Do you want a candle or special image to focus on? Do you need a cup of tea or coffee, a snack or energy booster? Do you need to be near a window? Having all of this determined in advance will help motivate you to get started and to make writing an enjoyable ritual.
Some people prefer a library or coffee shop as an ideal place for them to write. Others like to find a retreat cabin they can inhabit for a few solid days or even weeks of writing. It all depends on whether background noise is distracting or comforting for you. Know what is most comfortable for you, find it and stick to it.
This is part of a 4 post series. Here is the entire series