Writing is a passion. It is a siren’s call to get the story out, to create something that is timeless, that speaks to the very souls of readers. It is also messy.
Messy because, though writers are a creative bunch, they are not always very organized. If you could see my desk right now, you’d understand. Papers, pens, books everywhere. The hard drive on my computer looks much the same—folders and files stashed here and there willy nilly.
Writers are also procrastinators, especially when it comes to revising a once-loved first draft or submitting work to journals or contests.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a project manager, someone to set deadlines, to help set realistic goals, to hold us accountable for our actions, or more accurately, our inaction?
The Review Review recently published an article that addresses this very subject entitled “Does Your Writing Need a Project Manager?” by Lita A. Kurth. In the article, Kurth explains how she planned a seven week block of free time for writing using the skills of her friend, a project manager. Of her experience she says:
“I was astonished to see how quickly seven weeks passed. In the end, despite acquiring a high-energy dog, I accomplished all my major goals without burning out and without strict adherence to a schedule.”
We don’t all have project manager friends, but we can follow the same steps Kurth followed to help us be more effective writers. These steps are:
* Set goals and deadlines – No one gets anything done with an indefinite or hazy deadline. Make a goal and set a deadline. Period.
* Set realistic goals – You probably can’t write a book in a week (not a very good one anyway) so don’t set unrealistic goals like that. You want to set goals that you can accomplish and feel good about, but that don’t make you crazy.
* Make a schedule – Be honest with yourself and set priorities when making a schedule. Writers are also parents, spouses and friends. You have other interests beyond writing. Plan a schedule that gives you time (being realistic, remember) to do other stuff than just write.
* Keep track of your work – Kurth mentions her aversion to spreadsheets, but by the end of the seven weeks she realizes how useful they are. Keeping track of what you are working on saves time by eliminating confusion and duplication of work.
To read more about Kurth’s seven week adventure, click here.
So what do you think? Does your writing need a project manager?