writing is work

I’ve said this a lot – I’m a planner – both by nature and in a professional capacity. A previous boss once told me I could run the world with spreadsheets. I live in data, dig project software and have an obsession with deadlines. So when I decided to give fiction writing a go, I knew I couldn’t start without some sort of plan. So I purchased my domain and paid in advance for two years of hosting. That gave me a long-term goal deadline.

So what does a planner do when they need to manage long-term goals? They research and set touch point dates within that timeline.

Over the course of six weeks, I dug deep into Google to discover helpful websites ,Twitter users and hashtags about writing, different styles of planning and tools to use – basically if the site had anything to do with writing fiction, I checked it out. What helped me the most? The real life experiences of writers and entrepreneurs (but we’ll talk about them another day).

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates a talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. –Stephen King


A lesson in flexibility – make schedule adjustments when necessary.

You may not be a Project Manager by day. You may not have any idea what Access can do or how to write a nested IF formula. That’s okay – grab a pen and one of those checkbook sized calendars from the Target Dollar Spot. Start figuring out when you want to have your basic, non-edited manuscript completed, then work backwards. Need to adjust that end date? I did… three times. I have a job and a husband and children – the number of words required each day to meet my original goal was an impossibility.

That right there is a lesson in flexibility.

In my job, there are always requested deadlines, soft deadlines and drop-dead dates. Though the start of a project and the end of a project may be set in calendar-stone, the little dates in the middle sometimes need to be more organic or flexible. Got a busy week and know you won’t hit that daily word count? Adjust your weekend plans to make up those words. The middle of February will be crazy for me at work so I’ve already adjusted my schedule to account for days where putting 100 words down on paper may be stretching it.

Who knows… maybe I’ll start this story and the words will flow smoothly. Maybe I’ll be finished in a matter of days or weeks (and yes, I just laughed at myself for even thinking this). Or maybe my life will implode a bit, and I’ll go days without reading or writing a single word as I attempt to pick up the pieces. It’s happened before. As long as I have a goal in mind and a realistic plan to get there, I’m comfortable stepping onto that path.

FeatherI’m sure I’ll touch more on this subject as the days and weeks pass by. I’m sure there will be times of celebration and times when that percent of goal column really pisses me off. That’s okay. I have a plan. I have people in my corner who know of said plan and will be there to cheer me on, pat me on the back or kick me in the arse depending on what I need that day.

What’s your goal?





  1. Congratulations!!!! Now get writing so we can fill this blog with flails.

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