Having goals is great, but if you don’t have objectives set out to meet them you may just sit and stare at them, wondering how you’ll ever achieve your goals. I did. Project management planning and tools can help you set goals, and objectives that are attainable, helping you to achieve your goals and move on to that new project that’s been niggling you at the back of your mind for weeks now.
Hi, I’m Ann Shannon, the Manic Writer, and this month is my first month participating in the #authortoolbox blog hop. I’m so excited to join such a great group of authors as we help each other work to improve ourselves. I hope you find what I have to share helpful. I’d love it if you left me a comment telling me how you’ve applied my thoughts to your own work. I write romance, and erotic romance and I focus my blog efforts on the Indie author because I love them! Won’t you drop your email in that subscribe box to the right and join me in my mania? If you’d prefer to get the mania in a monthly dose scroll to the bottom of this post and subscribe to my monthly mania.
Approach your work as a business project
I’ve found that as a growing author I’m always finding new ways to improve my process. I’m lucky enough to write full time, but I know many authors, pre-published and published alike, are not. Today I’m going to talk about project management planning for the author. And, I’m going to share one of the project planning tools I’ve created for myself and I’m going to show you how I use them to keep myself motivated.
I am a creative. My mind is incapable of thinking in a linear manner. I can’t even think in calendars. If I don’t have my planner, electronic or paper because I use both in tandem, then the only days I can conceive of are yesterday, today and tomorrow. Everything else is either ancient history or so far in the future that I can’t imagine it. When I started writing with the intention of publishing a novel my excitement level was high especially during that first draft stage when the words were flowing. When I finished I wasn’t sure how to move forward. I found myself bogged down by the sheer size and time commitment of the task in front of me. Fortunately for me, my husband is a project manager in his professional life and he has been able to offer me some guidance and set some goals and objective that will help me see my progress as I work towards that publish moment.
Goals will help you advance your career, improve your health, or even grow as an individual. My creative, workaholic brain jumped right on that bandwagon. My first goal was to write a book. That was easy. And I was left with a mess of a first draft that was barely recognizable as anything even remotely publishable. Okay, my brain adjusted, now I’m going to revise that book. (Keep in mind this is my first go at this roller coaster and the dips and turns keep catching me by surprise.) In the longterm I know I have revision, critique, editing, and a host of other events that have to happen before I hit publish and watch the sales stack up. (Yes, I am fully aware that the sales vision is fantasy on my part, but since it’s way in the future, remember I only have yesterday, today and tomorrow, let me have my fantasy for now.)
I would get to the end of a day spent poring over my WIP deleting words, fixing errors and listening to sentence flow and not really be able to quantify what I’d done. Had I worked, really? What had I truly accomplished? What would I do tomorrow? What about the blog posts I had to write? Were they work too? Without being able to smile broadly and say “Today went well, I wrote 36K words!” I didn’t really feel like I was making progress. Enter the project plan.
I had my goal, but how in the world did I achieve “Publish All of Me,” where did I go from here? How did I finish the day and feel that I was actually working? Enter the objective.
Break your goals down into objectives
An objective is one step you will make towards your goal. My goal is to publish a book. My objectives will be to outline the chapters in it, write those chapters, revise them, consider the critiques I’ve received, purchase cover art, find and employ an editor, etc. Those steps are less quantifiable and easily dismissed as “not work.” Additionally I may spend an entire day researching a blog post I’m writing, or creating images and banners for my blog. My husband helped me sit down and work out the objective I needed to meet these projects. He also counseled me not to set my bar too high. I think he knows me too well! Below is an image of my monthly project planner for May. I set myself the goal of getting All of Me ready for beta reading by May 31, of outlining book 2 And Him as Well, of revising a short story that I am submitting to an anthology in June and of improving myself which is ongoing project. As you can see I have already made changes to my goals and objectives as I realized some of what I’d set out was more work than I’d realized it was. I have, however, found that having the visual to return to has helped me immensely in keeping track of where I’m at.
What I share with you today is meant to help guide you. There is no one right way to write a book. What I share is not meant to change the way you do your work. It’s meant to compliment it. You need to find the process that works for you and then tweak it as your needs change over time. I’ve been busy the last few months building mine and tweaking it as I use it. Over the course of the next few months I’ll be sharing what I’ve built for myself with you in the hopes that you can use it, tweak it to suit your own needs and find peace in the creative process.
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