Writing a book: Slave to the plan

Nov 21, 2013 | Writing A Book

It looks so neat at the beginning. You create simple plan to get your book done. Maybe you get a little fancier and use a Gantt chart. Everything is laid out, allowing plenty of time for each chapter and revisions.

It looks great and you think you have a plan. But what you really have is a fantasy.

The reason is simple. You drew up that plan at the point where you knew the least about how things would go. No problem there. But if you insist on keeping that original plan the same, then you’re headed for trouble.

Things can work smoothly, but only if you modify that original plan based on what you discover about your book. You may need to do more research or add whole sections to the book. You may need to throw the pieces of your outline up in the air and put them in a new and more effective order. Writing each chapter may take longer than you expected.

Modify your plan in light of reality and things can go well, barring surprises. Sometimes the person you need to interview has gone to a South Seas Island for vacation and won’t be back for a month. Sometimes something changes out there in the world that turns a great chapter you’ve already written into a collection of drivel.

Bottom Line

Change your plan when you need to and you will have a helpful guide to action. Insist on staying with the plan no matter what and your plan becomes a cause of frustration and stress.

What do you think? What’s your experience?