Signposting for writers

Signposting is a creative exercise I’ve been doing with my postgraduate writing students for the last few years.

Most writers don’t do this and it’s so powerful when you give it a go. It takes the mystique out of writing and makes you look at how long a project will last, and how much time you have to spend on it.

Do it in an honest and pragmatic way, and you’ll end up with a plan that shows you (roughly) when you’ve got time to write.

Michael Hyatt talks about scheduling on his blog, so look there if you’d like some general advice on productivity.

Signposting is a project management tool. It was designed by a writer (me!) for writers – although you can use it for other projects too – and it is supposed to be used with flexibility and is something to ponder over and adapt. The plan or schedule you produce at the end is not supposed to be stuck to rigidly, neither is it supposed to be another SHOULD in your life. I encourage you to revise it as you go. I also encourage you to stick it up on the wall so you can see it.

Use signposting in conjunction with time tracking and you’ll end up with a much more authentic plan.

The other side effect of signposting is that it makes you realise that there’s more to writing than getting words on the paper – or drafting. You need to allow for every stage, including breathing space, wandering time, staring into space. You’ll also want to factor in some planning time. Redrafting is a particularly important stage, so allow plenty of time for that.

So how do you signpost? You create a writing goal: I will finish my novel, for instance. Then you decide what the halfway point would look like, what the quarter way point and the three-quarters way point would look like. Keep breaking down the goal until you know what you’d have to achieve in six weeks’, three weeks’ and one week’s time. That way you build up a picture of how to finish your project.

Get your free Signposting for Writers tool here:

Signposting guide front page

Happy signposting. x

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my top ten productivity tools for writers.

P.P.S. Please share this post with your friends.

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