After finishing my last novel, I decided to not start the next project until after the first of the year. Instead, I revisited my someday list of household projects. While going through my list I realized how much I’d put my best practices of GTD (Getting Things Done) into my writing projects. For those familiar with the masters of productivity (David Allen, Franklin Covey, and Merlin Mann to name a few), then you’ll understand how any task that requires more than one step becomes a project when adding it to your task list. It’s easier to complete large, time consuming projects if you break them down into easily accomplished steps.
How does this help writing a novel? Break down goals into small chunks. Chapters, scenes, word count. Don’t go by telling yourself you’ll finish a whole chapter in a day. If it’s too much, choose to write 1,000 words, or just a scene. Maybe the goal is to sit and write for two hours before bedtime. Finish that small step and then go for the next. When I was writing the last book, every time I sat down, I took a look at where I was in the story and what needed to come next. Then, I picked an obtainable goal. One of my writing friends thinks that I’m a fast writer. Maybe. Or maybe it’s because I look at finishing a writing project as if it were a job that I love.