Friday, August 16, 2013

Plan Your Writing Schedule

When we talk about goal setting, we often discuss two types of goals. The first are your short term goals and the second are your long term goals. We know the short term ones are the immediate future of how we are going to get through a project. When it comes to the long term goals, we often speak of ideas that sound more like dreams. Writers, I am afraid, are missing out on one twist of the short term goals that would truly enhance their writing career, and certainly, if they do move to the published side of the business, it will assist with those larger contracts. What I am referring to is planning your writing schedule for a year.

For a published author, they often receive multi-book contracts. In most cases, these contracts also come with deadlines for things such as when the book would be submitted in a proposal format, when the book is submitted as a full and when the book is released. These dates are not always created by the editors, although there are suggestions for these dates. More often than not, the author is the one who creates a reasonable plan on when they can get each of those projects to the editor. Now, on the surface, this might sound relatively easy, but they also have to factor in the 2 weeks in the middle of many of those projects when the editor sends revisions to be dealt with, or copy editing that has to happen. If the writer still has not given up his or her day job, those events have to be factored in.

I bring this up because I do believe authors need to plan out in their heads a year long plan for the completion of projects. How many books do they plan to write in a year? 1, 2, 5, 10? Now they need to establish when they plan on getting those books finished.

Along the same lines, for each of the books, they need to create a schedule of when they plan to have the partial finished, when it will get sent to the critique partners, when the revised project is ready to go and so forth.

If you have contests you know you want to enter with the projects, you have to also factor those into your writing schedule. Add in conferences you might attend, workshops you want to take (or teach)...

Lay all of this out on a year long schedule and then...


You can't make excuses on not meeting those deadlines. You have to push yourself. Remember, when you do get published, you will have deadlines to meet. And yes, for you self-published people out there, this is also crucial since you want to keep up that productivity to keep your name out there.


  1. This is a point I had definitely not considered, most probably because I am not yet published and don't have the multi-book contract hanging over my head. I can see the advantages of the one year plan though. Thanks for bringing this to my attention as I can apply this to the contests and conferences in addition to my planned writing for now.

  2. Like Theresa, I don't have a book contract over my head, but it's a very good idea to plan out my writing schedule in advance - I think it's a fantastic way to actually get things done (instead of daydreaming about getting things done).