When I first started this novelist journey, I wasn’t consistent with my writing. I would go in spurts and stop literally for months at a time. I learned that for me to finish a novel and get it ready for submission, I would have to get organized.
I learned the value of making writing “to-do” lists. My lists helped me finish my first novel and now I’ve come back to my lists to help me get through the process of my second novel.
These are some of the things I’ve learned that work for me when I create my writing to-do list:
Determine your time frame. Do you like to cross out tasks once a day? Or do you like to review your list once a week and monitor your progress? The answer will help you figure out the best approach to manage your list.
Make your tasks specific. A general to-do task of “work on novel” may not get the same results as a task of “write two pages” or “write 250 words”. When you have specific goal, it’s easier to measure your progress with a clear deliverable.
Try to be realistic. Do you really think you can write 100 pages a day when you have other responsibilities? Make sure the tasks on your list are attainable so that you won’t be discouraged. You want to challenge yourself but you also want to be sure that the tasks on your list can be achieved reasonably.
Celebrate your progress. When you complete your tasks, be sure to celebrate your progress. Writing a novel is hard and every word you create inches you closer to the finish line. Instead of thinking about how much you left have to do, appreciate how far you’ve come and the work you’ve already completed.
Right now, I’m doing daily lists. At night before I go to bed, I think about what tasks I want to accomplish the next day. Sometimes I get a little ambitious and I may put down more than I can accomplish but I don’t stress out about it, I just move it to the next day’s list. I find that concentrating on daily specific tasks keep me from getting overwhelmed.
For my daily celebrations, I usually treat myself to a square of mint chocolate. And I already have my eye on beautiful bracelet as a gift to myself when I finish my novel.