Timeline Ideas

For an article or a book, you will need to set a timeline. Your timeline should have benchmarks or specific actions that need to be accomplished. Any work has a beginning premise and a final summary with conclusions. The middle should be steps that are necessary to fulfill the premise and give the reader some concrete thoughts as takeaways.   

Have you set writing goals? What will you need to do to enable yourself to stick with them? Be sure that you allow breather space in your timeline. You will need it to allow time for ideas to ferment or “crockpot” and allow new thoughts and ideas to surface. 

If you have prepared an outline, that can be a help to establish a timeline. Look for things that can be used as benchmarks. Some items on your outline will be easy for you to do. Start with them, but space them out. Do an easy benchmark item and then while your creative juices are flowing, move on to something that is harder and more complicated. Don’t expect to complete it in just one draft. Put down ideas then look for ways to convey different ideas from different angles. During revision, you will refine and polish the wording. Just be sure you write down your core thoughts. 

A typical timeline will consist of at least four or five phases and probably more depending upon your subject. At any one section of your timeline and its benchmarks, you will want to let a section or chapter cool. Then reread and rethink if you have projected the core concept of thought that you wanted to convey. Outlines and timeframes are not steps in a process, but a framework to place appropriate pieces in their proper place. Once you are satisfied with that section or chapter, move on to the next. 

It is important to understand that writing is a process, but not an exact science. You are building the structure as you go. It is not like an engineering project where each item has been functionally assigned because of a standard and becomes immovable. Rewrite and revision are part of the final timeline activities, but some revision will occur throughout your writing. Learning how and when to do revision and rewrite comes with experience. Once a complete draft is ready then you will become a rewrite editor. 

In the timeline, one of the things you want to keep uppermost in your mind is flow of how it reads. Something can look good grammatically but when you read it aloud, some words will become evident as harsh and disruptive. To be a master in the craft of writing, you must become a good editor, reader and listener. Learn about word flow, your voice and areas where you tend to use some words repetitively. You will need to learn how to substitute similar words. A good dictionary and thesaurus are essential to any good writer. Hopefully you can find good software that will fit your need. 

As part of your timeline, establish some writing goals. How many pages can you expect to write each day? Set up some related activities that need to be done and estimate how much time you can allot to that activity. There will be time when the creative juices are just not flowing. At these times, you will need to redirect you time and attention to related activities, such as grammar review, additional research, reading related books or articles for fresh ideas and stimulation. The objective is to keep moving with an eye as to when you can return to your primary project with new enthusiasm and fresh drive. 

Some writers work well with timelines and some do not. Remember this thought “what will my target audience want hear and will my writing fulfill that need.” Without a focus upon your target audience, what you write will never move well. A focus upon your target audience needs to be a part of your timeline events.          

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