The key to finishing any project is doing the work step by step.
Reviewing the details, making the necessary corrections, until you’re satisfied with the final results, this doesn’t mean perfect—there’s no such thing as perfect. It’s finished when it is worthy enough to convey the vision of the author.
It’s the same process for any business project, and some business people use tools like Gantt charts in Project Management. Writers can use the same tool, or at least mimic it. A good option is the Scrivener software; however you can do it yourself with any tool available, the key is to get the plan written down and you commit to the plan.
No matter what it is you create in life, the same steps need to be taken:
- State your goal and break it into manageable parts. Do the homework required to publish your writing to ensure you haven’t missed an important step. In writing, some may call this outlining, but it’s more than that. Yes, break your project into writing parts and sections to identify what needs to be done when writing. But also allocate the appropriate time to complete each step, give yourself enough time on your timeline for editing at least three rounds after the draft, and then formatting, etc. How long this takes depends on the length of the writing. A novel will require major editing time, at least a week for each round. Remember, when using an outside editing source the time needed may increase substantially. Know their timeline, too. Ask ahead of time—that’s part of your homework.
- The key to a good project is to know yourself, how you work, and adding the most likely scheduled time for your ability and writing habits. When creating a project timeline, you will need to take into account your strengths and weaknesses. This reflection will also help you identify where you might need help from outside sources. It also allows you to have individual parts to be worked on in the process at the same time. For example, a cover designer could be working while you’re still editing.
- Set up your tasks in a doable action plan. Schedule your writing time, make sure you allocate enough time to complete each part. If (when) you run into trouble and lost time, remember to push out everything else, including your release date. You might be able to make up time but if you try to undercut another section’s scheduled time you may end up hurting your initial goal. Each part was set up with the necessary time to accomplish that part. To cheat it that time may make the quality of the project suffer overall. So as you work, be flexible and let your schedule move out as needed.
- Start the project with your deadlines in mind. Use the plan to motivate yourself each day to move ahead. There may be setbacks along the way, make the needed adjustments, and continue. It’s only by forging on that we can complete our goal.
- Finish. In writing, this doesn’t only mean the manuscript is completed; you also need to get it into the public’s hands. Allocated time for the tasks of getting it into the required formats, adding the finishing details to push the publish button. Make sure you have all your publishing dashboards up to date, the blurbs were written, the covers created, and other requirements ready for each version you intend to publish. These type of activities are necessary to complete your project and should be part of the homework up front and included in the timeline.
Main parts you need to have in your project timeline:
- Editing (if outsourcing, know the editor’s schedule)
- Beta reader(s) – time for them to read and offer feedback
- More editing and re-writing
- Final edit
- Cover creation (if outsourced know artist’s timeframe)
- Once your manuscript is completed: format for print, epub (iBooks & Kobo) and mobi (KDP)
- Compile the formats and check they read properly for the various readers – don’t forget to make it mobile friendly
Distribute using the multiple dashboards (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords or D2D, Kobo, Nook, etc.)
Hit the PUBLISH button—then let the marketing fun continue!
Congratulations, you’ve released your work to the world and completed the project. Hopefully, your fans have been anticipating this work for awhile and will embrace your story with open hearts.
As a new week commences, a new round of editing begins. You’ve already heard the mantra “Writing a novel is rewriting.” I’m going to do another read through and tweak my work in progress IN THE WOODS Murder In The North East Kingdom
I’m very excited about this project and hope to have it released for publication this