Plan With Me – Halfway Mark

Over the last seven weeks for my slot, I’ve been  giving steps to a simple plan to expedite the writing process.  You can find the previous posts here:

We’ve reached the halfway mark  and I thought it would be a good time to review before moving on.

Introduction:  In order to succeed you need a plan. You’ve heard the expression, Failure to plan is planning to fail.  There are some who seriously need to make a plan, any plan.  I have plans. I have detailed plans to the point that I often over plan and doesn’t allow for LIFE to happen as it’s known to do.

You know that crisis that pops up 3 days before deadline that you’re already behind on? NO? Is that just me? Sorry but I know there are others that this applies to as well.

Part of  my take away from this is to simplify my own plans and leave some wiggle room.  Idealistically there shouldn’t have to be wiggle room but I’ve  made that mistake too many times to count. Sometimes I am an idealist. Other times I’m a cynical “old dog”. OLD DOG – OLDER TRICKS.

You  need to ask yourself what your take away is. Is  it to make a plan?  To modify your plan? To simplify it?

Step 1 – Determine Your Role.

Are you going to be the author, the writer, or both?

STEP 2 – Schedule your time.

Author:  Contact your writer and determine a reasonable timeline.

Writer: Schedule your writing allowing for other aspects of your life. If you work a  nine to five job, it’s unrealistic to think you can write a full-length novel  in thirty days. Aside from NaNoWriMo,  which is insane anyway, reduce unnecessary stress by allowing yourself reasonable time.

Just this past week, I’ve revised my schedule as I was on the brink of losing it for real. Life seldom  turns out like we want or plan. We ‘overcome, adapt, and improvise’. Most of the time we are making it up as we go along, a life of improv! Make the best of it and make time to pursue your dreams.

STEP 3 – your support system

Select your fortress of solitude! OK, since I can’t afford my own island off the coast of Fiji, I will have to settle for a reasonable spot in my home. This has been a major complication for me with limited space and a continued fight for my own space ka known as an office.

I have put my foot down and am currently waiting on electrical work to be done, which I have no experience in.  This issue was supposed to be addressed nearly two months ago. I worked diligently cleaning and clearing an area to carve out my own office space. I can’t express the level of frustration to discover that while I have been waiting on the electrical, my space has been reclaimed. This. Is. Not. Cool.

While I work to set up my own area/office space, let me give you a  few more tips to improve your chances.

  • Eliminate distractions.
  • Keep the temperatures moderately cool – we think better   and are more productive.
  • Choose your background music carefully.  I often have a playlist that corresponds to the writing mood. It would not work to use the hard-driving heavy metal playlist while writing a tender love scene. Likewise, the  classical instrumental will not work for battle scenes in my paranormal fantasy.
  • Stay hydrated and eat proper food.  Proper food is not a bag full of Cheetos followed by a mountain dew/ vodka chaser.

Another aspect of this is addressed by Savannah in The Business of You. Take the time to read this excellent short article!

STEP 4 – what’s in your toolbox?

Scrivener – my word processing tool of choice.  Microsoft Office Suite with Word is great,  but it’s  not as flexible as Scrivener.  Scrivener was designed for a writer.

Evernote  is awesome for collecting research.  You can find the information on that at

Grammarly – a free application with option for an upgrade is a helpful tool, but I wouldn’t count on it as your only editor.

There is also one called Hemingway – I haven’t looked into that yet, but it’s on my to-do list.

Another tool that is invaluable for me is Dragon Naturally Speaking.

Resource Library:

  • Elements of Style – Strunk
  • On Writing by William Zinsser

Those will get you started.

STEP 5- create

Create a formal book proposal. This will give you clarity about:

  • your target market
  • your content
  • your value
  • your promotion

Your book proposal will be your blueprint to success.  By writing your book proposal, even if you are self-publishing, it lends validity to your efforts.

STEP 6- establish your goals


Goal Setting – Everyone  that knows me knows that I am all about the goals. Without a goal line, how do you know when you’ve finished? Goals are important, so are deadlines.

What is your manuscript length? This will help calculate your goals.

Smaller books are actually  a good option. For a book of 100 pages or less, 60% of the readers finish the book. If you double that to 200 [ages –  the percentage drops to 20.

The average fiction novel ranges from 75000 words to 120000 words.

Deadlines: You can run a simple algorithm through a program called The Book Calculator to get an example of a realistic projected timeline for completion.

Set a goal for yourself, a realistic goal whether you use The Book Calculator or not.


What’s next? We’ll start  on the  second half of this series. Next week we start to get into the meat, You don’t want to miss it. Until then, have a fabulous 4th of July weekend and celebrate

‘Til then





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