A Writer’s Schedule

Hi Fellow Readers and Writers–

The way I see it, you have five steps in writing a book and getting it out to be published, and each step must have its own schedule.

Step One: Research & Planning~This is the stage that needs no schedule.  You’re brainstorming and mind mapping, and generally having a blast.  You’re feeling “jazzed” about your new project.

Step Two: Writing Your First Draft~That “jazzed” feeling will carry you through several chapters, but then you hit the wall.  Now you need to buckle down, dangle your own carrot in front of your nose, and stick with a writing schedule.  My chapters for my novellas run about 5 pages long.  I know I need to write at least one chapter a day, or I’ll never get ‘er done.  This is the time I “force” myself to write seven days a week.  If I don’t, I lose the thread and feeling of the story.  Those five pages can take a half hour to an hour.  I never end my writing session at the end of a chapter.  I always put down a couple of sentences, or a paragraph so I’ll have a starting place the next day.  Hemingway used to end mid-sentence.  That doesn’t work for me, but it may for you.  By the way, NEVER go back and edit anything you’ve written at this stage.  This is pure writing–getting that first draft (even if it’s crap) down on the page.

Step Three: Editing~I set my book aside for a couple of days or a week, at the most.  Then I reread the entire manuscript through, using a colored pen for corrections and adding notes in the margins if I need to include another clue or something.

Step Four: Rewrite~This is grunt work.  Thank goodness for computers, because they make the additions easy to insert.  I usually rewrite 5-10 chapters a day.  I know, it sounds daunting, but it isn’t.

Step Five: Final Read-Through~ Again, this is done in one day, with colored pen in hand.  This is when you catch all those “stupid” errors where you’ve typed “her” instead of “here,” etc.  It should take you less than a day or two to make these typo corrections. 

So, as you can see, the only step where you really need to have a set schedule is during Step Two–the Writing of your book.  The rest of the steps seem to take care of themselves. 

Hope this helps you.  Don’t be too hard on yourself if you miss a day of writing.  Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back to it the next day.  Skipping two or more days, by the way, is a no-no.  You’ll lose the spark of your story, your characters, etc.  Get back in the saddle, if you’ve fallen off, and know that it will soon be over.  You only need to stick to a schedule for three or four weeks, depending on how long your book is.  For a huge novel, I’d say no more than a couple of months.  And you’ll feel so much better, once that first draft is done!

Happy Reading and Writing to you all,



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