Tag Archives: planning

You have the right to see your words in print! Step Six

6. Write

You may be described as a ‘pantser’ – someone who can make decisions, flying by the seat of their pants, embracing creativity as it strikes. You may be a ‘planner’ – someone who needs to methodically map out their story, using page numbers and a prescribed plot line. Neither is right or wrong, nor mutually exclusive. Really, the advice is to do what it is you need to do and however you need to do it!

Of course, it does involve striking a keyboard or pen to paper – words, more words, and even more words again. Approach the process with abandon. No-one ever needs to see the first (or thirtieth!) draft… It is yours and yours alone, so write. Words beget words and even if you get stuck, one word will naturally want to follow the one you already have on the page.

Each time you revisit the page, you will scrub and polish those words. For a children’s picture book, EVERY single word needs to have earned its place. Not one word is there by whimsy!

Personally, I write when I walk. It is such a pain! Ideas stew and develop and ferment, and occasionally, the glorious ‘one line’ which ties the entire story together ‘pops’ into my head – as I duck-waddle at a pace on my predetermined path! I can’t even start with pen to paper until I can ‘see’ page 32 (or, ‘the end’) It is as though the movie is completely distorted and I am turning the aperture to gain clarity. The haze starts lifting and when I write, it may only take an hour or so. It may have been months (or years!) in the haze!

Walking, computers, new notebooks, café’s… It fascinates me to hear people beg of authors to share their working routine in a bid to gain some insight into the ‘how’ of success – when really, it is already there right with you. Your way of working is the right way!

The only ‘mechanical’ approach that is of value is the idea of blocking out time to be creative. Like booking a long wished for adventure, allow yourself to go off grid, to leave your world as it is, and create. Culturally, we are so comfortable with the idiom ‘I am going to work’ or ‘I am at work’ and we know not to interfere or to persist with annoying that person with phone calls or personal issues… So apply that to your writing.

You are ‘at work’. So, now work!


Have fun!

Writing for YHTR Emma Mactaggart

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You have the right to see your words in print! STEP TWO

2. Make a booking for a venue for the books launch.

You think I am going mad – but you have now given yourself a deadline for this project!

And I need a deadline! The latest book I have created languished in a bottom drawer for years and I would put off the project at every opportunity. I knew the workload required to convert it into a printed book.

Being intensely practical for a moment, having a date also now gives you an ability to determine the production schedule. It may only take a week to print a book, but that is only if you have already been slotted into the printers production line!Let’s work backwards… (with some assumptions, like having your book printed overseas) It takes three weeks to ship books from Hong Kong. It takes a week to print a book. One month down.

It can take a graphic designer, working with you, a week if not a fortnight to build your book, approve and action any changes and send to the printer. It can take three months for an illustrator to finish a full set of illustrations and a week to have the illustration either scanned or photographed. Four months down.

You definitely want to have the manuscript edited professionally, and like the printer, if you are not booked into the queue, allow another month. Five months down.

You may have had a flash of an idea, but it can take an eternity to set yourself up to be truly creative and dedicate yourself to this book. You are not a full-time writer yet and no doubt are juggling other jobs and commitments, family and friends. Sure you can block out time and punch this manuscript out, or you can let it ferment – this part of the time line is up to you! In saying that, you may need that deadline more than ever, so give yourself a couple of months.

Book launch is now 9 months away!

Adding a layer of complication, or rather – more time… Let’s say you wanted the book in stores for the Christmas market? Bookstores order in July / August for Christmas and this means the distributor needs your book in April / May to make it in time for inclusion in the catalogue. This, in turn, means you will need to have the book written and in production in the year before the launch! This schedule means having the lead-time now from 18 months to two years.

Goodness! You can see why I now suggest having a couple of large pieces of cardboard taped together, so you can create a huge diagrammatic representation of this (I have one currently taped on the garage wall!) Of course, there are nifty planning tools available via the internet, but sometimes I just want some screen free thinking time and love using pen and paper.

Best of all, adding to STEP ONE Tell Everybody – you can now see when you have blocked out time in your schedule to finish the manuscript, you will have everyone’s blessing and support!


Have fun!

YHTR Emma Mactaggart Book Launch

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