Plan Your Writing So You Can Write When You Plan To

I make really detailed chapter outlines (complete with word-count goals) when I write books. This is for my upcoming book When Women Invented Television.

There’s one surefire way to kill writer’s block before it happens: planning.

I’m sure some people can write without planning, but I’m not one of them. Some people, especially fiction writers, might be able to simply sit down at their desks and start a mighty flow of words. But nonfiction writing all but requires advance planning, and fiction writing can benefit from it, too.

(Approximately) 90 percent of writing is simply tricking yourself into putting the words down. Putting the words down is the one literal requirement of writing, but it can take a lot to get us there. Here’s what I do to make sure the words are coming at the right time:

  1. Pick a time to write and stick to it. I’m a calendar person—if it’s in the calendar, I’ll do it. For me, writing is a full-time job, so my appointed time is roughly 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Your appointed time might be different. But put it in the calendar, or do whatever you know works to get you to do the thing.

New York Times bestselling author of Seinfeldia, Sex and the City and Us, and Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted. Co-host of #Authoring podcast.

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