Goals

Clearing A Logjam: Why A Project Needs Completion

Courtesy Morguefile.com by earl53

Courtesy Morguefile.com by earl53

Sometimes writing flows easily like a swift river or current and sometimes it grinds away like a glacier. But for me, it’s always moving. However, a few weeks ago I really struggled with my blog. I just didn’t seem to have ideas readily available. That whole week I wrote posts from day to day which is not normal for me since I tend to be ahead of the game by at least a few days if not a week.

But then the logjam cleared and everything started flowing almost too fast. On that Sunday, I woke up early with four blog post ideas in mind. I got out of bed and started writing. By the end of the day I had six posts written in my Scrivener project. That was a major sea-change from several days earlier.

So what happened that I suddenly wrote so much? There are a few reasons. First, back in December I wrote several blog series that lasted between 4-5 weeks. I had ready-made ideas just waiting to be written. But starting with January I had fewer series in mind so I had to work harder to generate ideas.

Also, during my grinding week of blogging I was busy completing preparations for sending my novel to my editor. This minor project actually took up more of my creative capacity than it seemed. Thus I had less creative energy for ideas.

MorgueFileWaterfallSo the day before the explosion of writing I completed that little project. After a good night’s sleep my creativity was reset with the closing of the previous project and the backlog of ideas erupted. Fragments of thought germinated into full-fledged concepts and all that creativity woke me before sunrise with lots of impetus to write. I had the bodies of four posts completed in Scrivener within three hours. Later that afternoon, I completed two more posts for the total of six.

But what’s more, when I looked at some other ideas I had noted and left hanging, they also clicked in my mind. I knew that over the next few days I would easily write those as well. After all that I had developed quite a backlog of posts to begin scheduling in coordination of upcoming author interviews and blog tours I’m hosting. At this point, I’m several weeks ahead on blog development which has actually freed me up to write more fiction while my novel is with the editor.

So there’s a lesson in all of this for me and maybe you as well. When it comes to blogging, grind away when required but don’t give up. When the creativity erupts, ride the wave of creativity and write as far ahead of your blog schedule as possible. I’m now weeks ahead and plan to stay that way. I also have the flexibility to reschedule posts as necessary if anything comes up.

At this point, I’m progressing very well with the rough draft of my 2nd book and working on short fiction. I’ve been able to compose a number of blogs that are schedule to be posted. So clearing the issues have been very fruitful over the last few weeks.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyWhat holds you back with your blogs? Does your pace ever grind like a glacier? What have you done to clear your logjams? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Photos via Morguefile.com free section

Cover art provided on commission from Chris Rawlins

Project Management Pt. 10: Eat, Sleep, Write

Tiger YawnYou’ve taken time to analyze your time and your project. You’ve identified your needs and how to schedule writing. You’ve put all the pieces together and you’re doing it – writing. But there’s one important aspect that’s missing. An author managing writing projects needs to manage life to remain focused and effective.

Writers tend to become engrossed in their work. We push ourselves to be productive. However, if we aren’t careful we can fall into a cycle of diminishing returns. Overwork can leave a writer struggling to keep the content flowing.

Proper rest is incredibly important. Sleep is a key component to everything a writer needs to complete projects. It keeps us energetic throughout busy days. But more than that, it fuels creativity. A sleep deprived mind is sluggish and lack motivation.

Back View of Man Running on StairsHow do I know all this? From personal experience. I have sleep apnea. When I was diagnosed with a sleep study the difference of a even a few hours of solid sleep was – literally – an eye-opener. I didn’t realized how much energy, creativity and – most importantly – life I was missing. With my CPAP, I have become increasingly more active with my writing over the last few years. It’s probably a major reason why my writing languished for the better part of a decade. Now I understand how Rip Van Winkle felt.

Lack of sleep affected everything I did. When I have a bad night’s sleep it really brings my productivity to a halt. I don’t even eat properly because I begin to eat just to stay awake and it’s not good food in that case.

So take my advice, drop what you’re doing and get some well-earned sleep. With regular sleep y0u can become far more productive. And while your at it, get some exercise and take some well-earned breaks to do some interesting activities. It all works to keep your life balanced so you can manage your writing project well.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyWhat hinders your productivity? How can you be healthier as a writer? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Clip art licensed through Microsoft Office. Tiger photo courtesy Morguefile.com free photo section. Book cover licensed on commission from Christopher Rawlins.

 

Project Management For Writers Pt. 9: The Priority Trap

CalendarLast month I sent my book, The Bow of Destiny, to my editor for a structural edit. I expected the book to be out of my hands for about thirty days. This meant it was a perfect time to work on the next book in the series, An Arrow Against the Wind, as well as some of my short fiction projects.

I set a schedule to complete the rough draft of the second book and got started. I also began a hefty overhaul of a short story that was a very rough draft. I worked into a balance with these projects after weighting their priority according to my available time.

By the time I was in a steady rhythm with these projects I had accomplished a great deal. I had written several chapters in the second book and revised the short story into a cohesive draft. I expected to finish the rough draft of An Arrow Against the Wind by the time The Bow of Destiny came back from the editor.

WritingBut to my surprise, the editor returned the manuscript several weeks ahead of schedule. There was good news as she far fewer structural issues than previously so the book is rounding into shape. I just needed to address these structural issues and be ready for the next round of detailed editing.

But now I was faced with problem. Should I finish the rough draft on which I was working or pivot to edit the manuscript in progress. I had allotted time to complete An Arrow Against the Wind but I also needed to have The Bow of Destiny ready for the editorial schedule. What should I do?

This question stopped me cold for a few days while I weighed the options. I thoroughly enjoyed writing like I was on book 2. However, the first manuscript needs to be completed.

Dueling priorities had me trapped. The quandary had to be examined. I took a serious look at An Arrow Against the Wind. I knew there would need to be some structural changes to the manuscript. I decided to go ahead and do these to find out how much writing was still needed to complete the rough draft. In the end, I found that I needed much more than I originally thought. I could still write higher word totals each day and finish the draft by the deadline.

Puzzle Pieces.jpgNext, I considered all that needed to be addressed on the first manuscript. I started a fluid schedule to determine when I could finish the changes and be ready for the editorial schedule. I found that I would be well ahead of the schedule.

In the end, I’ve chosen to complete the edits for The Bow of Destiny. It needs to be completed first and be ready for the editor’s schedule. This weighed much more to me than the second manuscript. The advantage to completing the editing was that I would have the manuscript waiting for the editor and I could already have pivoted back to completing the rough draft of the next book, even have that completed.

The take-away here is that you can make a solid schedule but circumstances change. A project schedule should be fluid enough to allow for shifts in priority. Learning to be flexible with your schedule is necessary to managing projects – and for me these books are parts of a larger project. How you prioritize your projects is up to you but flexibility may be necessary.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyWhat unexpected events have you encountered that required changes to your schedule? How have you adapted to circumstances to move in a different direction while still accomplishing your over-arching goals? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Clip art licensed via Microsoft Office