Do you want to write a book? You want to start a blog? You’ve been thinking about this project for a while, but it seems so huge, you don’t know where to start (or maybe, you’re just too afraid)?
The size of this task may be threatening, but you are the Architect, you are inspired by the greatness of others, and you see this project as a challenge, an opportunity to become great yourself.
So, Architect, how do you build your monument? What is the first step you take?
Write Down Your Thoughts: Every great monument starts with a blueprint. You have your ideas buzzing around in your head, but at the moment, that’s all they are.
You need to write them down. If you are writing a book, or starting a new blog, the first thing you need to do is figure out what you are doing. Ask yourself questions:
- Who is this for?
- What do I want to achieve with this?
- What does this project need?
Then, go write. Do not worry about structuring your brainstorming, not at first. It is important to put your ideas on a page, to nail them down, because they will probably change. You will develop your own system for organization soon enough, but for now, you need to sketch out your ideas.
Plan for Your Future: From your brainstorming, you should understand the inspirations and impetuses for your project. You should have a general, if indistinct, image of your finished project in your mind, and you should be eager to start (don’t worry if you are feeling afraid, fear is a normal part of this process).
But wait –
This project is too large to complete in one sitting, maybe even a hundred sittings. Inspiration alone will not forge your glorious creation into reality. You need organization.
- Think of your schedule. When can you work on this? How can you turn this into a routine? Progress follows on the heels of habit (Do not fear habit. As long as you are careful to keep your mind open, habit will not inhibit your imagination).
- Where can you work on this? Where can you go where you will not be interrupted (either by other people, or by your own lapses).
Every great monument is built in pieces.
- How can you turn this project into small, manageable building blocks? If you are writing a book, do you work on a character alone, and then insert them into your story? Do you work chapter by chapter? The more smaller you can make your blocks, the less daunting this project will seem.
Give Yourself a Deadline: Fear is a powerful motivator, and unfortunately, you must use the most terrifying word to motivate yourself: Deadlines.
This is the final step – give yourself deadlines. Exact dates.
Be realistic. For writers, first drafts will take longer than you think, and editing will take even longer. Give yourself the time you need, and remember, you can always have more than one deadline. Do architects build floors and ceilings at the same time?
Should you tell others? This is a difficult question, with far too many answers to go in depth. All I can say is you shouldn’t promise something you will not deliver.
If you tell no one, and you fail to complete your project on time, nobody will think of you as a failure. But who will hold you accountable?
My best suggestion (and I am admitting no mastery on this matter) is to tell someone who will support you, who will ask you about your project, and will encourage you to keep going. If you don’t know anyone like this in person, find someone online (I am here! Ask me!).
A Project’s Beginning
Recently, I finished the final draft of my short story, The Outward Path (Which you can read here, or download the ebook from Smashwords here), and I’m editing two more. This means that I’m in the perfect situation to start my newest project: my first full-length novel.
Deadline for my first draft: August 31st, 2015
Deadline for my final draft: December 31st, 2015
I will be keeping weekly word counts on twitter, and other updates through the blog. I want to encourage you to join me, to plan out your own project, and to set your own deadline. I want you, Architect, to build your own monument.
Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to like, comment, and follow the blog. Tell me about your own projects, how you plan for them, and what you’re going to be working on over the next few months.