Break Down Big Projects

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.


4 thoughts on “Break Down Big Projects

  1. I’m a list maker myself. But then, I’m also a total compulsive. When it comes to my writing, though, I don’t set goals. I love writing so much, it’s not necessary to set goals. Every chance I get I’m dragging out the laptop and writing. I just sit down and write for as long as the daily grind of life will let me, and then I reluctantly save my file and go back to the grind until I can steal away again.


  2. I love writing as well. I’ve always loved writing. But, I’m also an accomplishment junkie. Setting little goals, if only to make myself feel like I’ve done something BIG spurs me to either work harder or makes me feel like I’m walking on cloud nine.

    Of course, there are days when all that works against me. And, on those days I’m fairly miserable, LOL!

  3. I totally need goals…I have to set quotas for myself or I will find a millions others things to do instead of write. Don’t ask me why because I love to write too but there’s always something else I need to do!

    So I set a weekly quota, that way if the words are flowing one day then I can get a lot done and if they aren’t then I don’t have to stress (unless I’m nearing the end of the week and my quota is nowhere near being met)

    Sometimes I’m so motivated that exceed my quota for the week…those weeks feel great to me!

  4. Small goals are a good idea. I’m stalled at the moment and miss having a monthly writing group to work with. Self-motivation is a wonderful thing and I think mine will come back soon.

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