EIGHT STEPS TO GETTING OUT OF THE CLOUDS AND HITTING THE GROUND...WRITING

Step 8 Right Work Program

If all goes according to my game plan, I hook the interest of several editors. They often want to talk by phone. If they want to acquire my book, they usually present it to an editorial committee. Afterwards, if their bosses and colleagues buy in, I get an oral offer. If I accept, I get a long, dense paper contract. This is weighty document, but it produces a great feeling!

But that’s when reality hits: I have a contractual deadline. How do I get the work done?

The answer: The same way I got this far, in steps. There is no magic to my work here. As with the management of any project, I line up my milestones. I divide the allotted time to fit them, and I create a schedule in fine detail.

Here’s how I allot time for a typical book: 2 to 3 months of up-front time for research, 3 weeks to write each chapter, two weeks to write the preface, introduction, and epilogue, 4 to 6 weeks for my editor to give me feedback, 2 days to rewrite each chapter, 2 more days to rewrite each chapter again. Depending on my book, it could take half as much time or twice as much.

Step 8: The paper trail hits ground
I’m finally touching down to earth at this point, and I feel like I’m off and running when I finish one more document.

  1. Master schedule: I break my project into its parts and schedule time for each. I anticipate this step early, often starting it after step 5, so I have a better idea of how to negotiate the deadline in my book contract.

How do you prepare a reliable writing program? What kind of scheduling tricks or software do you use? We can all use new ways to manage, control, and complete a long-term project. Join the conversation on my blog..

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