Most people I know do not have scads of free hours to tackle something new, let alone a big project like writing a book. To the contrary, they tend to be overbooked and overstressed. In my case, I have long juggled many balls. When I worked in banking, I went to school at night or pursued a professional designation. I still work on deadline and have to be organized. It’s not always easy. Life intrudes or something ends up taking longer than originally expected or I just want to take a break to exercise or see a movie.
I am a consummate maker of lists and a big advocate of sticky notes. The author of The Productive Writer, Sage Cohen, recommends the creation of a color coded “month-at-a-glance” on a whiteboard as a good way to stay on track and set an appropriate pace.
Creating structure around content is another good way to manage time. I recently spent half a day on a scenogram that lays out main chapter ideas within a three act framework. I am working on a detailed chapter outline this weekend. I’ve made excellent progress with my descriptions of main characters and plot by using a template provided by Randy Ingermanson and based on his “Snowflake Method” of writing. I know some who outline upfront and then begin Chapter One. That’s not me. I am writing chapters concurrent with the completion of my draft chapter outlines. Note my use of the word “draft.” As new ideas materialize, I am tweaking the chapter structures to enhance the major moments and throw in a few red herrings.
It should go without saying that a masterpiece does not suddenly appear under someone’s pillow. No surprise that prolific writers write and write often. Louis L’Amour had it right. He said “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”