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If you follow my business partner, co-editor and co-publisher at Transmundane Press, you’ve heard of this process of closing circles. If you haven’t, you should really follow him.

Anyways, here’s Anthony’s plan:

  • Figure out what projects are worthy of completion
  • Organize and Prioritize
  • Follow through

His goal is to clear his slate before starting new projects.

My plan is a long-term plan, a now-until-2030 plan. Everything I start is important enough to finish. The steps are a bit different. It’s just the way I think and plan and process. Which is not to say that I don’t have small, lingering unfinished stories and projects, but they’re on my list. And when the time is right, I will finish them.

Here’s my plan:

  • Brainstorm and list making
  • Create a timeline
  • Break list down into actionable tasks
  • Follow through

I use a series of planners and white boards and post-it notes to help me. I’ve mentioned and posted videos about the system called bullet journaling, but I’ve never shown mine.

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So, here’s my system.

  • Brainstorm and list making

I do this in several places, like I said above, I have notes and lists everywhere.

Much like Anthony, I need to decide which are priorities and which projects can wait, but for this part of my process, I prefer to jot down EVERYTHING lingering in my mind. Every connection I can make between characters and plot points that might generate an interesting story. I don’t want to dismiss anything.

I know this seems counterintuitive for closing circles and finishing projects, but if I don’t know the possibilities available, I can’t plan my future properly.

I also use this system to keep track of my marketing plan and ideas.

And here’s one of my planning partners, Tecnn, and yes, he’s as big as he looks at 28 pounds of black, furry flubber. He loves to help me read, write, and edit as well.

 

  • Create a timeline

I work with a strict timeline for my series, and I have a lot of characters that demand stories. And they all take place at the same time.

Here’s a peak at my ideal write/publish plan until 2030.

For business purposes, I keep another timeline of my writing with other publications, including Anthony’s, to keep our press on schedule. This also allows me to know when I can devote time to writing, editing, and marketing for each project.

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  • Break list down into actionable tasks

Obviously, the next thirteen years is a long time to plan out, so I work in the next five years, the next year, its quarters, months, and weeks.

You can see how I brainstormed my next year’s projects and the major steps needed to complete them. Then I divided these steps into quarters so that I know when I need each step completed by. From here, I work out my quarter and my month, becoming increasingly smaller and more specific until I come to my weekly planning.

 

  • Follow through

I track my progress to keep myself accountable. I can only re-write the same task so many times before I feel guilty for not having it done already.

Weekly planning works the best for me as I can slip the rest of my life into the days on the left and keep a tracking page for the week on the right. Note how I track when I work on my craft, my job, and my goals. I also categorize my weekly tasks: business, create, plan. The rest is personal tracking for my health and my family and my home.

Finally, I also break down projects, like my novel or blog post planning and tracking. Honestly, if I hadn’t had this process for AHEA, I’d probably still be editing and planning rather than marketing and selling, which again, I also track. I have to note everything or I don’t remember what works and what doesn’t.

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Share your process for planning and completing projects with the hashtag #ClosingCircles.

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