Before you write one word you should first get organized. Being organized will make your dissertation into book project go smoothly. If you don’t know where to start do the following:
1) Plan your writing project from start to finish. On a sheet of paper write down each thing you have to do from researching through writing. Take time to think through this list. Developing a comprehensive list may reqire a few days. Take this sheet of paper with you wherever you go. When a task relating to your book comes to mind write it down.
2) When your list is complete estimate how long each task will take. Will completing your research take a day, two days, a week, two weeks, a month, three months? Build in extra time for each task in case the unexpected arises. Therefore, if for any reason you have to interrupt your book project to take care of a crisis, you can go back to your book without undue stress when the crisis is over.
3) Designate a specific time each day to work on your book project. If you are having a hard time coming up with a chunk of time to devote to your book, start with just 15 minutes a day. Devoting 15 minutes a day is better than doing nothing and wishing you had time to work on your book.
4) Locate a peaceful environment where you will go each day to work on your project. If you will constantly be interrupted at your office, designate a workplace at home. If you are having a hard time finding a place to work at home, get up before everyone else while your house is quiet or stay up until your family has gone to bed. The first thing you should do in your peaceful environment is transfer Steps 1-3 to your calendar. Now you have a working plan to follow. Check your calendar each day to see what you should be working on in relation to your book project.
5) Place all your research, notes, articles and book related material that you plan to use in one place in your peaceful writing environment. Therefore, you will have everything you need at your fingertips and you will not have to wonder whether an item is in your office or in your briefcase.
6) Notify family, friends, and colleagues of your designated writing time and tell them in a loving way that you should not be disturbed during this time.
7) Streamline your professional schedule. Only accept very important invitations. Only attend very important events. Don’t look for excuses to abandon your schedule.
If you follow these tips you will be focused on starting and completing your book project. Having a plan to follow will take you all the way to completion.
Margaree Mitchell loves teaching scholars how to expand their expertise through the written word. She is the author of the upcoming DISSERTATION INTO BOOK CHECKLIST.