Oh the Pressure! A Writing Calendar

I love creating new characters, worlds, and writing about their journey, but I have a problem.

I can’t do it fast enough. After that first draft is written, I spend countless hours rewriting, editing, and tweaking it until I’m not afraid to show it to the world. In the mean time, I have hundreds of new characters and adventures flowing through my head, begging me to write their journey.

On top of this, I sometimes find myself overwhelmed in the steps needed to complete projects and feel stagnant and lost when someone asks me when a story I’m writing is going to be published.

So, last week when I received an email talking about ways to increases your writing productivity, I jumped right in and devoured the content.

There were three simple tips, and today(1 wk) I’m talking about one: using a calendar/schedule to plan your writing life.

This made sense. I do it at work, so why not for my hobby?

First, I listed all the projects I have committed to, then determined how long each step in the process takes me. Finally, I arranged it all into a schedule…and what did I find?

Despite having WAY too much going on, I developed a plan with achievable deadlines. It makes me wonder why I haven’t done this before. Now, when people ask me when I’ll have something published, I can give them a good answer.

I found this technique useful, so I wanted to share it with you. Here’s how I did it. Keep in mind, I always overdo everything, so you can do this as simple or complex as you like.

First, I listed all my projects:

  • The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives (Novel)
  • The Stellar Life of a Superhero Wife (Short story hook for full novel)
  • Hidden: A Pregnant Fairy Godmother’s Journey (Novella)
  • Halloween Anthology (Short Story)
  • Twelve Days of Christmas Short Story (for anthology)
  • Blood & Holy Water 2 (Novel)
  • Love, Lies & Clones 2 (Novel)
  • Non-Fiction Project

Then I came up with how long it takes me to do each of the steps from idea to publishing:  (I found this step to be eye opening. I need to work on streamlining this process somehow.)

  • Outline: Novel (2 wks) Novella (1 wk) Short Story (1 wk)
  • Draft Zero: Novel (6 wks) Novella (3 wks) Short Story (1 wk)
  • First Draft: Novel (2 wks) Novella (1 wk) Short Story (1 wk)
  • Beta Readers (Round 1): Novel (6 wks) Novella (4 wks) Short Story (2 wks)
  • Edits: Novel (2 wks) Novella (1 wk) Short Story (1 wk)
  • Beta Readers (Round 2): Novel (6 wks) Novella (3 wk)s Short Story (1 wk)
  • Edits: Novel (2 wks) Novella (1 wk) Short Story (1 wk)
  • Editor/Plan Book Launch: Novel (4 wks) Novella (2 wks) Short Story (2 wks)
  • Final Read Through: Novel (2 wks) Novella (1 wk) Short Story (1 wk)
  • Publish

Finally, I integrated these two steps into a spreadsheet along with hard deadlines, trying not to put to many labor intensive steps together on the same week (marked in red below.) Also, the blue steps are no work for me, so I make sure I have something going on that week to keep me moving forward…even if it’s for a future project. Here’s what my calendar/schedule looks like:

calendar

Now comes the easy part. All I have to do is look at my current week and make sure I’m on task with the little steps. As long as I am on task for the week, the overall project is also on task. Easy, right?

Ha. Not quite.

Do you use a calendar to keep yourself on schedule? Or do you wing it, like I always did?

About Joynell Schultz

Writer & lover of all types of speculative fiction. I'm shivering in northern Wisconsin. Learn about my novels here: http://Author.to/JoynellSchultz
This entry was posted in My Writing Journey, Writing Tips & Resources and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Oh the Pressure! A Writing Calendar

  1. I have an Excel spreadsheet with wordcount requirements, but nothing to hold me accountable to the editing part of it. I’ve struggled with that as editing and rewriting take me 2-3 times longer than the actual writing. Especially that first edit…

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    • Oh, that’s something I don’t do, that I probably should: Track word count. There are long stretches that I don’t write new material because I’m so caught up in editing (which, I hate, BTW.) I’m with you on editing taking so much more time. I’ve read posts about using alpha readers and writing a clean first copy to cut this time down, but I don’t think I’m there yet in my writing skill development. My first drafts are so clumsy. Just getting the words down on paper is much more important than the beauty of them at that point. Thanks for the comment and sparking me to think of something new…It’d be awesome to see word counts per month, or per year even.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG, Joynell, that really put me to shame. I haven’t lived on that kind of schedule since I still had kids at home and my schedule was broken down into quarter hours. I’ve been trying to write three blog posts per week–sometimes Friday proves too much. Okay, I’m mainly concerned with one book review and one original subject post per week. All other stuff comes after that.

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    • I know, I’m such a nerd, right? Three blog posts per week is hard to do…just coming up with new material is a challenge, much less, writing about it. Maybe I over plan because I have to balance kids, husband, job, and writing…and anything else that comes up. 🙂 Thanks for the comment. Have a great rest of your week!

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  3. I love this post! I’ve tried penciling in detail my day to day activities and I SUCK at sticking with it anyways. For me, things go smoothest if I only write down dates for deadlines and then I write down my goals and accomplishment needs in a notes place at the side of each week. That way I can pull from it and prioritize daily without planing it before hand… Good luck with all those projects! Looks like you really have your work cut out! lol

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  4. nicholeqw1023 says:

    What a great idea. Come next January, I’m going to (officially) start using a bullet journal as a planner so I should start thinking about this now. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    • Thanks for the comment! I want to start a bullet journal sometime, too. I always have good intentions, but fall off the wagon. I tend to make a weekly (or daily) to-do list on a sticky note and throw it away when it’s done. I just love crossing things off. 🙂 I wish you luck with organization in 2018!

      Liked by 1 person

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