Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Monday, June 25, 2012

Using a Writing Plan to Write a Book: Guest Blog Post by RJ Thesman

Welcome to author RJ Thesman, who is a guest on my blog for this week. She is going to share with us her ideas about how to use a writing plan for the purposes of writing a book. As a busy mom writer, I wholeheartedly endorse creating a plan if you want to write a book. Yes, us creatives tend to resist the idea of sticking to a plan, but trust me, it works. I have used some of her methods here and that's how I managed to write books with children underfoot. These are great ideas and many thanks to RJ for taking the time to share this on my blog.

The Unraveling of Reverend G
ISBN: 978-1-93650110-6
format: paper, 200 pages, 5.25” x 8”
category: FICTION / Christian / General

When Reverend G hears the devastating diagnosis — dementia with the possibility of early-onset Alzheimer’s — she struggles with the pain of forgetting those she loves and the fear of losing her connection with God.
With the help of her friends at the assisted living facility, Bert, a farmer from Oklahoma, Roxie, the stressed-out activities director and Gabriel, a cat with the gift of forecasting death, she soon discovers there’s humor to be found in forgetting part of the Lord’s Prayer, finding her iron in the freezer and losing a half-gallon of ice cream. And she discovers that while the question she wants to ask is, ‘Why,’ the answer really is, ‘Who.’

The Writing Plan
by RJ Thesman

Sure, I know many creative writers hate the idea of using a writing plan. But for those of us who are bi-vocational – writing after we’ve worked an eight hour day – the writing plan can help us develop discipline and more published works.

Following are some of the writing plans I have found to work well:

WED: Write Every Day and send something out every Wednesday

Words/Day: Determine to write a certain number of words each day. Jan Karon wrote the Mitford books, using 1500 words/day. It worked.

Pages/Day: Start with one page/day which coincidentally is about 250 words. One page/day = one book/year.

The Project/Day Plan: Monday, an article outline; Tuesday, rewrite previous drafts, Wednesday, work on a short story; Thursday, your latest book project; Friday, a filler; Saturday, marketing; Sunday, rest.

Punch the Clock Plan: Write for a certain amount of time. Anne Lamott clocks six hours/day.

Post-it Note Plan: As a busy stay-at-home mom, Marabel Morgan perfected this plan. Throughout the day, write thoughts on post-it notes. That evening, collect all the notes, put them in order and write.

Weekend Novelist Plan: Taken from a Writer’s Digest book of the same name, this plan reserves Friday-Sunday to work on the novel.

What’s Next Plan: Always have the next idea ready. Then you can begin with just a few lines here and there on another project. This plan helps to eliminate writer’s block, because there’s always something to work on.

Weekly Plan: One week, work on the novel. The next week, focus on marketing. The 3rd week of the month, poetry. The fourth week, short stories. Continue the weekly plan with your favorite projects.

Miscellaneous Plans: Anybody out there use a different plan?

Although writers follow a writing plan, we can still procrastinate. So the most important plan is still focused around having the self-discipline to “Just Do It.” Whether you use a laptop at your favorite coffee shop, a PC at home or a yellow legal pad and a gel pen, just do it. Sit down and write.

Bio: RJ THESMAN has been a writer since she flipped open her Red Chief tablet and scribbled her first story. Eventually, she earned an education degree and taught at various levels. Thesman is a Biblical Counselor and a Stephen Minister. She has worked as a communications professional in a variety of nonprofits and has served as campus minister to international students. Thesman enjoys teaching writing workshops and helps beginning writers birth their words. She is the mother of an adult son and enjoys reading, gardening and cooking — especially anything with blueberries. Thesman lives in the heartland of Kansas with her son and an elderly cat.

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