Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.

― John F. Kennedy

I’d like to continue on the subject of how writers plan their work.  I’ve thought a lot about this lately and have made changes, both large and small over the years to improve the process.

I believe every writer I know has a method, a system if you will, around how they plan their work.  Those with a “day” job, must carve a writing niche from the day to accomplish their goals.  Those with children and husbands, or either or both, must allot the requisite “family time” and still make time to write.

In the end it’s all the same, we each get twenty-four hours and no more.  So if you want to dedicate time to writing, a plan is a good thing.

I’ve been fortunate to be around writers for a long tome, including those who aspire to be published and those who make their living as published authors.  Now it’s true many writers find a pace if you will, once they get their feet under them in the writing world and so they find the second, third and etc., books go much faster than the first. I would assume, and many do validate the thought, that once having learned what not to do, they are less likely to repeat mistakes. I also assume an air of confidence will allow one to move boldly forward with each new project. But that is not always true.  Many authors complain of the “sophomore slump”.  One close friend told me it took her eighteen months to complete the second novel.  She felt the time was proportional to the fear of finding out the first novel was a best seller.

The time she spent promoting the novel did not detract from writing the second, but simply renewed the fear of success which accompanied completing the first book.  She told me, she feared the editor, her agent and numerous fans who bought the first book would know she could not repeat the success of the first book, and so she became “paralyzed” with fear.

When a writer, either aspiring or published sits down to complete a daily word count with purpose and direction, they set aside everything else except the work which needs to be  accomplished today, in the here and now, in the work moment. Thus a writing plan which often includes a break between manuscript editing and completion allows a writer to move on to the next project while allowing a completed manuscript to mellow.The distance provided by beginning on a new manuscript immediately will make it easier to edit the book that came before the new project.