Okay, I confess... I did not plan ahead effectively this week. If I had, this post would have been up this morning instead of this afternoon.
Planning ahead is a must for writers, and this truth applies to a writer's life in many ways. Another way to put it is to make sure we take care of the artist within.
For one thing, writers need a time and place to write. It helps the muse to speak when we give her a little love. So, what does your particular muse like? Does she like hanging out in coffeehouses? Does she demand loud rock and roll, or soothing classical music? Maybe she'd like it if you'd write in the morning instead of at night, or at night instead of morning. But she knows what she wants, and it is best to listen to her. She is the voice inside you reminding you of what works best for you. Give her that time and place.
This is even more important when you have a life outside of writing. (Most of us do, right? I hope we do!) In my case, I have a full-time day job. Then I write my blog and my novel in the evenings. Maybe you do the same. Or maybe you stay at home or work part-time, but you may have a spouse, children, pets, family members, friends, a gym, vacation plans... You see what I mean. We all have lives, and whether it's fun or it's work, there are many demands on our time. And writing should be one of those demands that we make sure to meet.
And it also helps to plan what you're going to write so that when you are pressed for time, you are better able to accomplish something on paper (or on the computer screen). This can be some form of an outline for the novel you're working on. (Full disclosure: I hate outlines. But they do help me stay on course.)
It also helps to have a go-to brainstormed list of topics for, say, a blog that you plan to write first thing in the morning. (Full disclosure: Yes, I mean this blog. But you can extrapolate the principle to whatever you are up to.) Generally, if you have a list, you have something to spark an idea when you need one fast. This has also helped me greatly to write blog posts ahead of time and schedule them, so that they appear seamlessly on time for readers. I did not fulfill that responsibility this week, and it backfired on me today.
That's the point, really... Planning ahead isn't perfect. But it can keep a tiny pothole from turning into a meteor-sized crater. And if you're driving along with your writing, you definitely want to avoid a plunging crash into deadline failure.
So, what say you, my friends? Do you plan ahead? Outline? Brainstorm? Schedule posts? What helps you stay on track with your writing?
Copyright (c) 2011 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.