How a great book can be written

Relevant – is this goal relevant to your vision. In this example completing a book to a publishable standard is clearly relevant to a writing related vision. It may be worth asking yourself if this goal is relevant now. Some goals may be relevant but will have little value if completed in the near future, for example you might have a goal of becoming proficient in photo-editing or drawing software to enable you to create your own book covers.

If you intend to self-publish this is a relevant goal however, you might be more productive if, initially, you focus on goals that enable you to increase your writing output. You can learn photo-editing or drawing software when you have completed the book. This is your decision but remember to prioritise your writing.

Timebound – When do you plan to complete this goal? This should be a date as is the case in the example. Avoid using timeframes such as six months or eight weeks as you run the risk of rationalising that the six months doesn’t start until you’ve started writing (easy to put this off) or that eight weeks doesn’t include the week you went on holiday.

Goals as projects

Now you have defined your goals you can turn them into projects. A project has a beginning point and an end point. In the example of writing a book the completed publishable book is your end point. If you are publishable book is your end point. If you are setting up a website the completed website is your end point. Some projects will then become operational and have regular tasks you will need to undertake in order to maintain the product or service.

For example, to maintain a website you may need to undertake weekly updates and a three monthly check to ensure everything still works or if any changes are needed because of new technology. At this stage only consider the project until it is complete.publishable book is your end point. If you are setting up a website the completed website is your end point. Some projects will then become operational and have regular tasks you will need to undertake in order to maintain the product or service.

For example, to maintain a website you may need to undertake weekly updates and a three monthly check to ensure everything still works or if any changes are needed because of new technology. At this stage only consider the project until it is complete.You are now going to break these projects down into manageable activities and tasks. You can use a large sheet of paper, a notebook, word-processing software, a spreadsheet or project management software, use what you are familiar with, you can invest time learning new software at a later date.Take each of your projects and break them down into smaller chunks or activities (some at this stage may still be large).

Taking the example of writing your book these activities might be:

– Complete outline of book

– Complete character description

– Researc

– Write first draf

– Complete plot/structure edit

– Proofread- Proofread- Format

– Create title.T

he next step is to calculate, or estimate, how much time you need to complete each activity and the timeframe you need to restrict it to in order to meet your goal. Taking the example of a completing a book in six months. Let’s say your book is going to be 50,000 words and at this stage you can type at 20 words a minute. As long as you have a good outline and know exactly what you are going to write at each session then the first draft will take a little over 40 hours writing time.

If you are in the earlystages of your career you may need 80 hours for edits and proofreading. Note the following timescales given in this book are estimates only. Outlining may require 20 hours. Research (after outlining and during edits) requires 10 hours. Formatting, 4 hours.

Title, 1 hour. A total of 155 hours. Note that some time will be needed to create or commission a cover if you self-publish. In order to achieve your goal you will need to allocate six hours a week for six months to this project.If you don’t have six hours available you can either extend your deadline, reduce the amount of time you allocate to one or more of the activities, or create more time to work on this project.

If you are going to reduce the time allocated to any activity you need to consider the options available to support this. You could learn to type faster or use dictation software. This would require an initial investment of time but you could then reduce the time needed for a first draft to 20 hours. You might choose to create a more detailed outline, this would require more time for this activity but could reduce the time needed for rewriting and edits.

You might limit your research and focus on only, and no more than, what you need.activities, or create more time to work on this project. If you are going to reduce the time allocated to any activity you need to consider the options available to support this. You could learn to type faster or use dictation software. This would require an initial investment of time but you could then reduce the time needed for a first draft to 20 hours. You might choose to create a more detailed outline, this would require more time for this activity but could reduce the time needed for rewriting and edits.

You might limit your research and focus on only, and no more than, what you need.For example, if you have four hours a week, 104hours over six months, available you could restrict the time for each activity as follows:

– Outlining with character analysis if a fiction book – 25 hours, deadline 6 weeks from start- First draft – (30 words a minute) – 28 hours – deadline 13 weeks (3 months) from start- Edits – 40 hours- Research – 6 hours – deadline combined with edits as research integrated – deadline 25 weeks after start- Formatting – 4 hours (this can be reduced in the future by investing time learning to use the features in your word-processor and/or by creating templates.

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