Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Write Now! Series: Create Your Own Writing Plan

Write Now!

How to Write a Book in Your Spare Time, Even if You're Busy! 

III. Create Your Own Writing Plan:

Time Management:
First off, ask yourself how much free time you have each week—and be honest. Before you say, “Oh! I don’t have any free time” or “I’m just too busy”, think about the down time you have. Do you watch television every night at a particular time? Could you get up an hour earlier a few days per week, say before you go to work or maybe on the weekends? Could you stay up a little later on the weekends? 

After you take a good look at your life, you’ll be surprised at how much free time you have that won’t take you away from your children or other responsibilities.

Next, vow to give up a bit of the free time and dedicate it to writing only. Unless the house falls down, vow to write during that time—no matter what.

Now, I’m not talking about using every free morsel of time you have in your life. Heavens no! At that rate, you’ll burn yourself out. No; go ahead and watch television on the night of your favorite show, and of course, spend time with your children and family. But ask yourself if there is an hour or two each week of “Me Time” that you have. Then, use that time to write.

As I already said, I started off dedicating Friday nights and Saturday mornings after my children went to bed, and before they got up to write. It got to the point that I really started looking forward to my writing time. Do the same thing for yourself. It’s very therapeutic.

Do the Math:
Now, do the Math. First, write a well-developed scene. Then, look at the page count. When I write, a well-developed scene is about ten pages. For you, it may be a bit different. Then, to make it easy, plan on writing about twenty chapters per book, give or take. Keep in mind that writing is a creative process and should in no way be regimented or stifled. For a full-length book, I plan to write the climax of my book about chapter 16. Then, I use the rest of the chapters to start wrapping it up. Sometimes I can wrap it up by chapter 20; sometimes, chapter 22. Again, don’t be regimented.

For shorter books about 200 pages or less—double spaced—plan on writing one well-developed scene per chapter. However, if a chapter takes two scenes, then write it. Be creative.

Once you do the math and know how many pages you need per scene, how many scenes per chapter, and how many chapters that your book will be, you are on your way to having a writing plan of your own.

Digestible Bites:
Now that you have your writing time and have done the math, you can break down your book into digestible bites.

“Digestible Bites” is a teaching term that means to break down a big job into smaller, do-able bites, termed Digestible Bites by teaching guru Robert Marzano. Just as a teacher breaks down a task to seem less daunting for his or her students, do the same for yourself.

First, spend time writing during the time you have set aside for yourself. Then, look at the time and assess how much you have written. And don’t look at your mistakes, typos, grammatical errors, etc. You can clean those up later. If you wrote one scene, then that is your digestible bite. If you wrote one chapter—two scenes—then that is your digestible bite.

Don’t overdo it or kill yourself to write more during that time. Write at the speed that is comfortable for you. Your writing time should be “Me Time”; time for you to relax. But when you see how much you have comfortably written during that time, then vow to write that amount during each writing session that you have set aside for yourself.

Now that you have your writing time, your approximate word count, your chapters, your number of scenes per chapter, and your digestible bite that you will write during your allotted writing time, you have a writing plan designed especially for you.

Set a Goal:
Now that you have a plan, you will know how long it will take you to write your book. When I set my goals, I knew it would take five months to write my book, but I stuck with my writing plan and goal and finished in less time. (One Chapter at four weeks in a month equals approximately five months.) You can do that, too.

Vow to have your book completed in the timeframe that you have set for yourself. If something comes up when you can’t write, then vow to make up the time at another time. But, ultimately, you’ll find that you’ll love the writing time you have set aside for yourself and you’ll finish on time if not sooner.

For me, I love my writing time and look forward to having that “Me Time” each week. You will, too.

Commit to Writing Time:
It’s very important to stress that you need to make a commitment to write. You could make excuses for not writing—been there, done that—but be honest with yourself. Once you make the commitment to your writing time, then stick with it no matter what. Or, as I said above, make up the time if you miss your allotted time. Also, when you are off from work, etc., use some of the time to write more.

Also, write down your writing plan and track your progress. When you write it down, you’re more apt to make the commitment to write.

Now, this doesn’t mean to take time away from the loved ones in your life who depend upon you. Spend time with your children, grade those papers, create that presentation, but make a commitment to write. I promise you that once you make the commitment and stick with it, you’ll soon become addicted to your writing time just as I have.
Now that you have your writing plan, join me tomorrow as we start to write your book! 

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