This post was written and published by our Summer 2017 Intern, Mallory Corbin, a student at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Whether your book is in its early stages and is no more than an idea, or you are already ten chapters in, you may be struggling to buckle down and get your book finished. It may feel impossible, with your hectic schedule, to find time to even think about writing, let alone actually sitting down and doing it.
Regardless of where you stand, from the brainstorming stages to the polishing stages, there are certain steps that can be taken in order to finally get it done! The foremost step to take would be creating a timeline or calendar for your work. There is nothing more important than creating a schedule to commit yourself to working a certain amount. This may be on a daily, weekly, or even monthly schedule. This will set a standard that should effectively shift you into a pattern of working and writing practice, and keep you on track while you work toward your goal.
There are many different paths you can take when planning out your schedule. Some of these options are incredibly simple and user friendly, while others may take some getting used to.
For example, there are platforms like BrightPod, which I use with my team and for scheduling my projects. BrightPod is a productivity suite that helps you plan and keep track of your upcoming and finished projects as you work on them. Some other project management apps include Smartsheet, FunctionFox, and Liquidplanner. Project management platforms like these are great when you have specific due dates to worry about, such as from your editor or publisher. These sites often allow you to manage multiple projects at once without getting all of the details mixed up. If you are spreading yourself across multiple projects, or have many components that you need to keep track of for a single project, these kinds of apps and platforms are a must.
If the previously mentioned project management apps seem a bit too complex for you, though you still wish to keep things web-based and digital, then a great alternative would be digital calendars such as iCloud Calendar or Google Calendar. These are typically more simplistic calendar systems, especially in comparison to apps like BrightPod, though they still give you many customizable options. Color coding and creating multiple calendars for different projects can help keep you organized in your chosen calendar app.
Another option, especially for those who prefer not to rely on the web, is a traditional written planner or pocket calendar. This may be something you are already doing with your everyday activities, perhaps in order to remind you to do the laundry or buy groceries. Creating an additional calendar to record all of your writing project deadlines can help alleviate the uncertainty of whether you will be prepared for approaching due dates. I have always found that laying out my to do list and when each item absolutely needs to be finished, whether they be for work or my personal life, qualms my fears that I will not have enough time to finish everything. It may even be a good idea to integrate your writing calendar into your daily planner, rather than having a separate planner, this way writing will become more of a daily activity, rather than work.
Just like the daily planner, you may already be utilizing a reminders app on your phone. Whether it be the reminders app that comes standard with your phone, or perhaps you found an app that works better for you, reminders are a quick and painless way to keep yourself on track. This is quite possibly the easiest scheduling option, as all you need to do is create a reminder and toggle the repetition settings. For example, you may have one that says “Write! Write! Write!” that is set to repeat everyday at 4:00 pm. So everyday at 4:00 pm, you will be reminded that you have a schedule to keep to! This kind of strategy may work wonders for some people, though I have found that it is very easy to silence the reminder and move on with whatever I was doing when it first alerted me. Reminders are great tools to use, but they should be used in addition to one of the other more solid options I mentioned before.
Once you’ve chosen your platform, you will need to fill it with any and all information you hope to keep track of. You may want to start by setting a specific, though flexible, date in which you hope to have your book totally finalized. From there you can work to plan out what you will need to do in order to get to that point. This may include days dedicated to writing, possibly with a certain word count to be met each day. You may also add days dedicated to brainstorming, editing, and networking with publishers. With the help of this set schedule to keep you on track, regardless of what platform you choose, you will surely be able to get your book written to its completion!
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