Managing writing projects

Someone asked me recently how I managed my writing projects. The truth is, not very consciously. I often juggle multiple assignments, but I don’t think of them as projects to manage. My life might be a bit more sane if I did. So I’ve been looking for ways to think like a project manager, without having to learn project management software.

Lots of writer friends like Scrivener, especially when working on book projects.

I’m not sure it’s as useful for multiple small projects, but it looks like it could be adaptable.

Schedule organizers can help, too, and there are lots of phone-based tools for aspects of schedule organizing. But these are just a piece of a system for managing my articles as projects.

By happy coincidence, one of the most organized editors I’ve ever worked with, Wade Roush, posted a note on how he tries to organize his stories.

He uses a program called Evernote, along with Post-Its on foam board. He notes that his approach is similar to the Kanban system popular in just-in-time manufacturing, which he delves into (the photo here shows the basic format: Backlog/Doing/Done).

I don’t really have a good spot for a large piece of foamboard in my office. I’ve been writing down projects with little timelines in a notebook, using two-page spreads to give myself more space. That’s been okay, but I find that I sometimes misplace the notebook, making it hard to use as a daily guide. I write down little notes to myself in a Moleskine, a running to-do list, and while I like checking things off, it might not have the same impact as physically moving a sticky note from one place to another on a piece of foamboard. I am going to try to find a place for a piece of foamboard that is neither in the way nor out of it. We’ll see whether this helps me get through a stretch of six project deadlines I have coming up.


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