Strategies to finish writing projects

03 Dec Strategies to finish writing projects

Born to be wildTwo months ago I challenged you to make the most of the last quarter. To finish those half-written stories, to sign up for a workshop or join NaNoWriMo. How many did it?

A friend was telling me that since she stopped doing a creative writing course she’s found it hard to stay inspired. ‘All I seem to do is push bits of paper around, rather than actually write anything.’

If you’re not creating – or if you’re creating stuff for other people, your day job – life can feel boring. Creating is what keeps it interesting.

So rather than feel bad, do something concrete in the last four weeks of 2014.

Book in for a one-off super mentoring session via Skype or in person with me on 16 December by emailing me back directly.

Or do a spreadsheet of all your current writing projects so you can track them. This is what I’ve just done and it made everything feel much more manageable. I have different columns for the various stages of each project:

  • Idea
  • To do
  • First draft
  • Revised draft
  • Edited
  • Polished
  • Done

In other columns you have:

  • Research needed – & break this down into
  • Interviews to do
  • Places to visit
  • Books to read

Then have a column with realistic deadlines for when you aim to get each stage completed. These will be in 2015 but at least you’re putting a structure in place now.

I also like my last column to be ‘Notes’ for any extra stuff.

I colour code my different projects so I can immediately see which is fiction or non-fiction, a short story or book, and where I am in the project.

If this works for you, then you can create a more in-depth spreadsheet for just one book and break it down further — into chapters, scenes etc. This is where Scrivener is fantastic but I think I’ve mentioned that already… (By the way Scrivener is currently offering its package at a $20 discount if you use the coupon code, NANOWRIMO.)

So take 2 hours out of your busy week to give structure to your writing. And next week I’ll tell you how the most successful authors write into a structure….