Happy Wednesday! We’re continuing with our theme of planning and goal setting. We’ve talked planners and tips for effective goal setting. Now let’s talk scheduling.
It’s a common refrain: If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real (or some variation of that phrase). This is something that always trips me up – breaking down the really big goals into small chunks. It’s the difference of saying, “I have to write a 75,000 word book (gulp!)” and “I have to write 1000 words today.” The second choice feels a little better, right?
So Wickeds, how do you break down and schedule the pieces that will eventually make up your overall goals?
Edith: On the broadest canvas, I need to keep track of my books’ due dates and release dates. If I lose those, I’m screwed. So I use a super hi-tech three-year calendar to track them. Yes, this one. It’s a piece of printer paper with months drawn on it. I started off color coding but have already lost track of that. And I don’t yet have a few release dates on the calendar. But it’s always on the wall above my laptop. I can glance at it at any moment and make sure I haven’t lost anything. Everything else is a drill down from there. (That said, I also have a daily word count goal of 1500 when I’m writing first draft.)
Liz: I’m trying to get better at chunking things up. For my books, I’m sticking to my 1000 word/day goal, since I’m in the early phase of creating my new book. For my new business venture, it’s a little more overwhelming. I’m finally getting the hand of scheduling a couple hours a week to batch-write content, and then using time when I’m feeling less creative to do the more administrative things.
Jessie: What a great question, Liz! Like Edith and Liz I use both calendars and daily word counts to keep me on track. I use a physical planner to have the space to block out time to accomplish the ings that are important to me. I have a white board type yearly calendar that I use to see deadlines, travel, personal life events and book events at a glance.
Also every day I pick out the top three accomplishments that will make my day feel like a success and write them on a sticky note. Then I postion the note in a small frame that I keep on my desk. It helps keep my priorities at the top of my mind. To wrangle the daily to do list I use the Personal Kan Ban method that I have mentioned on the blog in the past.
Sherry: I don’t have a system. I have in my mind what my writing goals are, what needs to be done around the house, and then I check my emails to see what other work has popped up that I wasn’t expecting.
Julie: I’m working on a time goal rather than a word count goal for 2019. At least an hour a day of writing or editing. I’m blocking separate time for blogging and business tasks. Since I’m working on amping up my business and writing, smart scheduling has been something I’m trying to tackle mindfully.
Readers, do you schedule everything relating to your goals? We’d love to hear how you all do it!
I have flat desk calendar, plus a smaller one for my purse. I am not editing much anymore, but I looked at last year’s, when I was working full time, and I wonder how I did all that. I gave myself plenty of time for projects, but if an author was a week late delivering a manuscript, that could really throw me off. I also have a white board yearly calendar that includes deadlines and personal activities, too, and that’s what keeps me in line. But it’s so old, I think it should be called a gray board. Time to go office supply shopping, yay!
I’ve never been able to set a word count daily goal. I guess I’m afraid I’ll get to that number and quit mid-sentence. My solution when working on the rough draft is to aim for one scene a day (one chapter if it’s a book with short chapters; my Liss MacCrimmon series has longer chapters with three scenes in each one). When I write down my new total word count at the end of the writing session, I find I’ve usually added 1000 to 1500 words to the whole. If I’m on a roll, I might write more than one scene a day, but I find it’s usually better to pace myself. That also gives me time to toss ideas around in my head before starting the next section. My other trick is to give myself a deadline months ahead of the real one so I have plenty of time for the really time-consuming part of the job—revising.
Thank you, Liz – very helpful. Love these work planning conversations! I have a broad goal of at least one hour a day, not a word count – as when I’m doing edits or rewrites, it gets all screwed up. Or, my editing may cause me to prune an entire scene, which gives me a negative WIP balance! If I am working at a good clip and not rewriting or editing, and can do one scene a day, I’m happy. If life gets (even more) complicated and I can’t do my hour, I try to make up the time the next day. I do set personal goals – to have a very rough draft ready by X date , to give to a willing reader and critic – because I need a date to work toward. Like Jessie – I also have a post-it note – mine by the coffee pot – of what needs at minimum to be done that day for me to regard it as successful. I’m my own most demanding taskmaster!
Being retired, it seems like mostly we schedule doctor appointments and trips. 🙂 I do these on the computer in a running list according to dates that I add to and subtract from after they are finished.
Our main goal at the present is our upcoming trip in June. It’s going to be quite extensive meaning a lot has to be planned ahead of time such as making sure we get all prescriptions filled with adequate supply while gone to making sure not to schedule any appointments during that time. So I have several lists – things to do before we go, essentials to take if all else is forgotten, things to make sure are with us like sign in information so we can continue to pay bills etc. while gone to name a few.
Having gone on a very long trip before we at least have some experience from trial and error to fall back on this time. We started our lists as soon as we decided to take this trip. We have added to and refined them often as we think of things. This helps me because then I’m not trying to figure it all out last minute. Hopefully, we will have all we need and what we might forget will be so trivial that we can do without of find some place to buy along the way.
Lists are my friend and I do it all on the computer so I can change it easier.
2clowns at arkansas dot net
A task-list with associated due dates, a calendar, and daily word-count goals (when drafting).
At work, some things are set for me, like these 5 JE’s are due today. But for longer range goals, I do try to break things down.
I do that for reading for sure. I aim to read 1/3 of a book a day on week days. I’m more lax on weekends. I always think I’ll get all kinds of reading done, and then I don’t. But I’ve stopped pressuring myself on that.
I put stuff on 3 different calendars..then add to my little notebook I carry as well..lol
The best thing I have found as a reader of ARCs is Booksprout. Even with it, I don’t always post the review on the correct day, but I have an EASY way to get in touch with the author. I am 70, so things either get done or they don’t. I just keep in mind that people are more important than things (even deadlines).
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