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Break Your Writing Into Manageable Pieces

by The Procrastinating Writer on July 21, 2009

courtesy of liza31337

courtesy of liza31337

By Jennifer Blanchard

When you first came up with the idea to write a novel, I bet you were just a little bit intimidated. You thought: Can I handle this? Will I make it to the end? How am I going to do this and everything else in my life?

Before you start feeling too overwhelmed, however, you should consider breaking your novel writing into smaller pieces that are more manageable. Doing so will help you get your novel written, a little at a time.

Unless you’re Stephen King or Stephanie Meyer, you probably don’t have a whole lot of free time to just write. And so the idea of taking on writing a novel might freak you out—Will your schedule allow for it? Is it too big a project for you?

When you break your novel into pieces you can actually handle, however, it will help you get your novel done (that’s kind of the idea behind writing two chapters a week for Complete That Manuscript).

Here are a couple examples of how you could break down different writing projects so they’re less overwhelming as a task overall:

  • Writing a Novel—Novels usually fall somewhere around 22 to 25 chapters (give or take). So in a 10-week period, writing 2 chapters a week (at minimum) would get your novel finished. Writing a novel requires several steps. Use each step as a manageable chunk.For example, novels usually include a planning period (manageable chunks: Planning your novel, which usually takes a few different occasions, unless you’re a just-sit-down-and-write person); a writing period (manageable chunks: Write 2 chapters a week); and an editing/rewriting period (manageable chunks: read each chapter one at a time and make notes/edits. Each chapter becomes a new chunk, which means you can do one chapter a day or one a week or one every few days. Whatever works for you.)
  • Writing a Freelance Article—Articles require several steps. Use each step as a manageable chunk.For example, an article would include finding sources (manageable chunk #1: Do research. Find some sources to interview.); contacting sources to set up interviews (manageable chunk #2: Schedule interviews with your sources); conducting the interviews (manageable chunk #3: Conduct your interviews); write the article (manageable chunk #4: Sit down and write the article); edit the article (manageable chunk #5: Read through and edit your article).

Manageable chunks are as simple as that. You don’t have to do everything all at once, so don’t force yourself to.

And if you think you can’t break your novel into manageable chunks and get it finished on your own, join round two of Procrastinating Writers Unite to Complete That Manuscript.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shaylen Maxwell July 21, 2009 at 2:53 pm

I couldn’t agree more. If it weren’t for manageable pieces, I would probably accomplish nothing. Sometimes a sentence a day is what is required just to break the sheer inertia. : )

2 Donald E. W. Quist July 21, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Spot on, Jen. Breaking it up into manageable chunks just makes the whole process a lot less overwhelming.

3 The Procrastinating Writer July 24, 2009 at 12:32 pm

@ Donald EW Quist I gave “manageable pieces” a try this week and I’ve done extremely well! I haven’t felt this accomplished in weeks.

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