If you were to ask any successful writer, both fiction and non-fiction, how they achieved their status in the literary world, they’d probably all say the same thing. They mapped out a writing plan and then executed that plan.
Now for those who write, we already know that it’s getting started that is often the hardest part. After this comes many more issues, such as what to write and how much of it we need to write.
And from these questions comes even more questions – like how much time do we spend on research before we write? Or should we flesh out the words and story and leave the researched parts blank until later.
The need for a daily writing plan
As you can see (and probably already experienced), such questions multiply and could eventually muddle our minds when we should be entirely focused on the project at hand.
The good news is that most writing assignments can be easily broken down into a series of identifiable tasks. Depending on the project’s extent, we need only follow the sequence of functions to achieve our objective – easy-peasy.
Such an approach works great for any writing project, from a simple essay to a 300,000-word novel. The only difference between the two is the total time spent on the project and the amount of work expended. And obviously, a more extensive project will have a long sequence of tasks as well.
5 elements of a writing plan
Before discussing these five writing plan elements, we must understand they will differ from writer to writer. A key aspect of being a productive writer is knowing yourself and what makes you more productive.
So approach these elements with some self-reflection and ask yourself how you could best achieve these objectives. What works for me may not work for you, and vice-versa.
Set plausible and measurable goals
For most of us, a daily writing goal can be the biggest motivator. Even if you’re not writing to satisfy a publisher’s deadline, you should already have one for yourself.
If you are a new writer, why not have a daily goal of writing 2500 words every day? If that seems like too many, then start with 1000 words. The important thing here is to create a new writing habit – and it must be something you believe you can do. Over time, you can increase the number of words as necessary.
Break down projects into tasks
If you’ve ever written a book, then you know how much time and energy is required. Most of the bestsellers of all time took years of work and research – which is why they are bestsellers.
Since all of us today can easily self-publish books, articles, and short stories, we have more control over the entire project. It has to be that a writer’s publisher laid out the project deadlines, but not anymore. Writers today have to be even more discipline to create a writing plan and stick to the schedule.
For these reasons, writing projects need to be thoroughly evaluated and broken down into smaller tasks. This will make the entire project less daunting.
Arrange required tasks into a sequence
After identifying the task required to complete your writing project, you’ll need to arrange them in a logical order. The real key here is understanding which tasks depend on others’ completion before they can be completed.
By doing this, you are preparing a blueprint to finishing your project. When you’ve outlined the proper sequence of tasks, write them down or put them on a spreadsheet and then track your progress. Your willingness to follow results is the only thing that is holding you accountable. The life of the project depends on your self-discipline.
Assign dates for the tasks
There’s an old saying, “the difference between dreams and goals is that goals have deadlines.” That pretty much says it all. Things have a way of getting serious when completion dates are assigned.
These anticipated dates of completion need to be entered into your spreadsheet or project notebook immediately. Commit to memory the first few deadlines and begin your work right away.
Do not be afraid to tell others about your deadline. They will indirectly (sometimes directly) keep you on track by asking how things are progressing. This is especially true if you are writing a novel or book. Such a project impressing people, and they will be sincerely interested in your progress.
Work backward from the ending
While all writers gradually develop writing plans that work best for them, most of them start at the ending. This is a winning approach for all types of writing disciplines.
It is too easy to meander off the path whenever you start writing. But when you know the ending already, you always know where that path is and can always work your way back.
Always remember that wandering off the main path is what will make your story unique and unpredictable. By having your story’s objective firmly in your mind, you can dive into a subplot with more finesse and resume the main plot in clever ways – both dazzling and entertaining your readers.
These five steps for a solid writing plan can be applied to any writing project. I recommend that you begin using your version of it as soon as possible.
A primary key to successful writing is to crank out excellent content as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality. This can only be achieved by enhancing the efficiency of your writing.