Organizing a Pantser

So, you’ve made the decision to migrate from Pantser to Plotter. Now what?

As a Pantser (not under contract), you have flexibility in your schedule. You may have a daily word count goal, but with no deadline, it doesn’t really matter if you reach your goal. You can make up for it the next day or just extend the length of time it takes to write the book.

But what happens when you become a Plotter and submit a proposal for three books that aren’t yet written? A component of the proposal requires a completion date. How do you come up with a time frame to complete the books?


A calendar?

Not the ideal solution. Especially when you’re working on multiple books. There’s just no easy way to adjust.

A timeline would work. One with the capability to insert tasks by book and keep a running word count total.

You can google timeline and and find hundreds of timelines. Please be sure to pop back over here and let me know if you find something that works for you. I didn’t.

Instead, I chose to create a fairly basic Excel document with the month, date, book, task, words added, and a running total. I mapped out each book with the targeted word count, taking into consideration vacations and holidays. I used “fill color” to highlight different books, so that I can easily decipher the transition from one book to the next. I add my word count for each day, and adjust if necessary. According to my timeline, I should finish Book #5 by early 2014. And now, I have completion dates for my proposal.

It’s not ideal, either, but it works for now.

It’s your turn.
If you’re a Plotter, which organizational software works well for you?

6 thoughts on “Organizing a Pantser

  1. Oh, Dora, I'm so glad I'm not alone! I, too, am now functioning off writing on proposal and while the show of faith is fantastic, it can be daunting. Sal's place was written entirely on proposal, and I have two more proposed. The thing I've had to keep in mind, besides charting word count and deadlines and plot-tracking my WIPS, is the fact that LIFE happens. My father passed away during the writing of Sal's Place, which threw my entire world into turmoil. As I've concluded the series with a dollar dowload, I've experienced health issues that required my time and attention. I've been able to meet deadline, but I've made sure my wonderful editor has been aware, just so she's not ever caught off guard by my writing life and my life outside of publication. Dual responsibility and dual accountability is so important to the plotter/selling off proposal scenario. 🙂 We're blessed to work with such an AMAZING publisher! Love and blessings to you my dear, sweet friend. Did I tell you? I'm almost halfway through Journey's Edge!!! I'll review when completed – but suffice to say, you ROCK!!


  2. I'm so sorry to hear about your father's passing, Marianne. Working through a situation like that is scary stuff, not anything you could plan or foresee.

    PBG/White Rose Publishing is a blessing! I hope to work with them on many more projects.

    Thank you for your sweet words, and for taking the time to stop by. Congrats on your upcoming release, DEVOTION! Featuring my review here on Friday. Be sure to stop back by. Hugs and blessings! 🙂


  3. Michael Hyatt provided a copy of his schedule this summer and it has helped me keep on track of the things I'm trying to accomplish. I can't imagine how you are putting together a schedule for multiple books. I will be praying for you and trusting the Lord to guide you and give you peace as you sort through your workload.


  4. Aww, thank you, Diana. I appreciate your prayers!

    I will hop on over to Michael Hyatt's site and check out his method of organizing! Thanks for the tip.

    Enjoy a Son-filled day!


  5. Oh, you're hurting my brain:) But I am trying to find that balance between pansting and plotting. It helps that I”m yet-to-be published, but there are some habits I want to form before so they become more natural.


  6. I'm sorry about hurting your brain, Susan. 🙂

    You're wise to retrain yourself now. Plotting out your book goals will also help you see what you can realistically expect to accomplish in a given time.

    LOVE your new profile picture! Hope you enjoyed the ACFW conference. I'm so jealous!!


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