Monday, March 28, 2011

Teacher Plan Books--I guess I still need them


Progressing Nowhere...that's the way I felt last week surrounded by all the writing related tasks I have to do. So many wonderful things to work on, I didn't know where to begin. I  started making a list. Not only do I have to send out more query letters on a completed novel, but there are two novels needing revision along with several short stories. I've even put off creating new crafts because there was just too much to do. I was going nowhere fast. Something had to be done.

I chewed on my pencil eraser.  Hmmm. What about those good old lesson plans from my teaching days? Sure, filling those things out each week was a pain, but they kept me on track and productive. A modified plan might work.

This weekend I wrote a simple writing schedule for the next five weeks. On the white board on my office wall, I wrote out the days of the week across the top. Under each day I listed one task that had to be done that morning. Period. No procrastination. I concentrated only on the mornings, two hours minimum. Afternoons would be considered recess if I did my work.
  •  Monday - revision of an MG mystery with special points that needed attention
  • Tuesday - revision of the YA from a list of my critique group's suggestions. (Love that group!)
  • Wednesday- short stories only.
  • Thursday- new project development
  • Friday- anything from M-Th
Today was the first day to implement the schedule and I actually enjoyed myself. Knowing exactly what I needed to do ahead of time, made it easier to pull up the chair and get started. The idea that I only had to put in a couple of hours was motivating.

 I revised the first six chapters and before I knew it, lunch time had arrived. The pressure of worrying about other writing tasks was off my mind and I could enjoy working on this one novel. I came away relaxed, smiling, and not one bit exhausted mentally or physically.

 I don't know how long this schedule will last, but right now, it's working and I'm no longer progressing nowhere. It's recess now and I'm blogging, nice reward for a job well done.

Do you need a schedule/lesson plans to keep you on task? Or are you, like other writers I know, so motivated and eager to write each day, you know exactly what to do and sit down and do it?

30 comments:

  1. I keep a calendar with daily and weekly goals written on it. The trick for me is to keep word count goals low, so that I usually don't have a problem making or exceeding them. That way, at the end of the month, I can see that I wrote 20,000 words instead of the 10,000 I had planned and pat myself on the back (when really, I wanted to write 20,000 all along). It's a sick little game, but it keeps me feeling like I accomplish things :)

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  2. Wow you're organized! I can't work off of a schedule, I pretty much do what I want when I want...um, relating to writing that is :) Otherwise I wouldn't be productive.

    demitrialunetta.blogspot.com

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  3. Jess, I like your game :)

    Demitria,it works well for you!Congratulations on your debut novel making you a Harper Teen!

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  4. In nursing, we had something similar called care plans. (And they were a pain much like your lesson plans.) But I do like making lists. I like your idea to plan out the week. Glad it's working! :)

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  5. I definitely need a plan. With work and uni, I've got to put aside some time to write and most of the time I just find myself sitting in front of the computer (or reading blogs).

    I wish I could be that organised.

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  6. That's great! I do need to try to implement some schedule, but it's usually a mental sort of list, not a literal one. (I'd probably be better off if it *were* the latter.)

    Today I posted about a school visit I did (to talk about writing), and if you have a chance to read it, I'd love your feedback. :)

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  7. I often write out my goals for the week and--although I get more done than if I didn't--too often the unexpected interruptions derail me! If I could just manage that part of life... :-)

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  8. Cheree, Oh how I know what you mean.Using the internet and mostly blogs to help me procrastinate is a big temptation I'm trying to overcome.

    Andrea, I didn't know about Care Plans but it makes good sense. I hope it keeps working, also.

    Janna, heading over now.

    Kenda, Yes, it's the unexpected that curtails the best laid plans.

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  9. I think the reason why I don't need a schedule is because my writing time feels like gold. If you are forced to wait for or are denied something, it always feels more precious. With all my kids running around and all these chores to do all the time, I look forward to my writing time. But there have been times in my life when I haven't been as busy and I was not as motivated to write as I am now. Go figure! Human nature is so weird!! :)

    I'm proud of you for your schedule. Way to go! I hope it continues to help you with productivity, especially in this heady spring weather!

    Amy

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  10. Let me get this straight. You revised six -- SIX! chapters in one sitting? And had the mental energy left for a blog post?

    You are my new Role Model.

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  11. Anne, I wish I could stay your Role Model but they were short chapters. Tomorrow's YA, now that's a different kettle of fish!

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  12. Amy, you are so right. With your busy life, how you find time to write is amazing. I admire you.

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  13. Yep, I think it's time to start using the old Franklin Planner again. Checking off my "to-do's" always felt like a reward...lately I'm more of a procastinating "to-don't!"

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  14. This is a GREAT idea. I've found myself floundering lately and need more structure. I like how you give a whole day to a type of project. I think this could work for me.

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  15. That's great! I think it has more to do with the number of projects vying for your attention than not wanting to write. I've gotten in that boat. I think deciding on a schedule ahead of time is a great way to go.

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  16. Liza, that's what I used to do and yesterday I put check marks on the erase board. It felt good!

    Melissa, this is only the second morning, but it really does seem to be working.

    Lisa, just wish I had done it before wasting time flitting back and forth.

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  17. I love this idea! I've been trying to assign dates to the different items on my To Do list, but I think your method is much more organized. I'll see if I can come up with something similar for myself. Thanks for the tip!

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  18. I find if I don't have a schedule or list of goals, I end up doing all the 999 other things needing to be done instead, and it leaves me feeling disappointed in myself.

    Schedules rock. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf muse

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  19. Anna, you're welcome. I had to find a way to get back to the basics and so far this is working.

    Angela,as usual the perfect word to describe what I felt...disappointed...in myself for not getting things done.

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  20. This is such a great idea, Cathie. I'm always eager to sit down and write but sometimes it's all over the place. Having a schedule of exactly what my goals are would help keep me focused and on track!

    P.S. I love my YA group too! I wonder if its the same one. ;)

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  21. I find that I'm much more productive when I set myself a goal. Even if I don't meet it (and sometimes I don't), I know what I'm working towards and that keeps me motivated.

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  22. I DO need a plan...otherwise I'm running around like a nut doing nothing. :)

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  23. Andrea, I think you are right about the correlation between goals and productivity.

    taio, gracias por pasarte por mi blog.

    Anita, that's what I was trying to stop me from doing--it had been going on much too long :)

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  24. Goals and plans are essential. However, having three teenagers home for spring break has shot my writing goals to pieces. Oh well. There's next week. :)

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  25. Margo, three teenagers and spring break...yikes!

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  26. How fun that you got the idea from teacher plan books! I'm not on a strict schedule, but might go to one soon to help me juggle writing, critiques, blogging, and web time.

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  27. Oh this is a good idea. esp if you have multiple projects going.

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  28. I LOVE to make lists. I even will put a couple things on the list that I've already done so that I can cross them out and feel accomplished right from the get go.

    That being said, I haven't made a list for my writing in a long time. You've me reminded me of why it's a good idea! thanks, Catherine!

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