It might seem antithetical to the creative process or even restricting to have a writing plan.
There might be lots of reasons it doesn’t sound like you.
Your writing process could be more fluid and flexible, one that allows inspiration to evolve before you put words to paper. You might not want to tinker with what works well for you.
Devising a writing plan doesn’t have to stop your natural writing flow. With a bit of adjustment, it can help rather than hinder.
What is a writing plan?
It’s a timetable that defines how much time you will write daily.
A writing plan is a framework you can use to set deadlines as well.
Setting out clear blocks of time to write and defining what you do with that time can be a useful tool in getting past the barriers that prevent you from putting your writing ideas into action.
If you are aiming to submit for publication or a competition deadline or have a date for self-publication a writing plan can help you achieve your objective.
Here’s how it works
Let’s face it, the short story you are working on, the book you are writing, the lyrics you have in mind or the poem you have scribbled on the back of an envelope isn’t going to write itself.
It’s down to you to get the words finished
For some people the very idea of committing words to paper can be intimidating.
Thoughts like “I can do that – they aren’t finished in my head yet” or “oh no, putting words on paper means they have to be right first” can get in the way of making a start on that project.
Using a writing plan helps you take the steps forward to get a draft completed
Getting the draft completed is a really big step on the way to getting it tied up and finished.
You will be half way there!
Here’s what to do
Life stuff sure gets in the way of writing. Boy, oh boy does it ever.
That last minute call to ask for a lift, that shopping trip you have to do, that TV programme you can’t miss and that phone call that you have to take. It all gets in the way.
Most people write in their spare time. To have a writing plan means making a choice to timetable regular writing into some of that spare time.
No buts! You can start small. Starting small with a writing plan will still reap rewards.
The great news is that even 15 minutes writing time every 2 days will mean you’ll end your week with more words than you started with.
Try adding in a deadline
Some authors talk about setting deadlines to help focus their mind on the writing task in hand.
If you want your writing plan to work because you have a deadline you will need to adjust your plan.
For a writing competition you might need to produce 1000 edited words in 2 months time, for instance. A writing plan can help you meet that deadline.
Work out how fast you write for. Most people can write at least 500 words every 2 days.
If you write 500 words every 2 days and your writing plan sets aside 15 minutes every 2 days, you should have 1000 words in your draft version at the end of 4 days.
It is, isn’t it. Using a writing plan in this way makes the enormity of the deadline feel more achievable.
It’ll help break your writers block and you’ll feel the sense of achievement and satisfaction that you’ve completed a step on the way to achieving your goal.
That builds confidence which in turn builds incentive to continue.
It is true that you’ll have to put aside other commitments. It starts with making it clear to yourself that you’ll be writing to a writing plan and then to others who also need to know.
Once that’s done though, you have bought yourself valuable writing time. Before you know it, you’ll have your first novel!
Do tell us your tips for using a writing plan in the comments below. Do you use one? Does it help?
We’d love to hear from you.
© The Surbiton Writers Group 2015.