Balancing Creativity and Scheduling

I’ve missed a few Friday updates so today I’d like to talk about scheduling. This is a topic that frequently comes up on my blog because it’s a major struggle that anyone who creates things has to deal with. How do you balancing scheduling releases with being creative and allowing things to organically evolve and become better? You can schedule every single action to the point where you have “Write X number of words” on your calendar each day or you can also schedule nothing and just release things when they’re ready but not many people find either of those methods helpful.

Over the past year my writing schedule evolved into including a lengthy planning phase. At the beginning of 2013 I started thinking about Memory Blood but I didn’t begin the writing for it until 2014 started. When I did start writing I was already familiar with many of the important elements of the story and so the writing went very smoothly and I was very proud of what I had created. That’s why I now tremendously value giving myself time to plan, but how do you fit that into a schedule? Do you say that something has to be thought about for 1 year before you start writing? What if you think of something else that you have a stronger desire to write or create in that year?

Even a vague schedule can be unnecessarily restricting. That’s why I’ve now further evolved my ideas about scheduling. The first major idea that I’m embracing is constant development. If a new idea excites me or if I think of something I’d like to do, I’ll start working on the concept and any character or world design that’s necessary for it and even start writing if I’d like. However, it will remain an inactive project until I’ve assigned a slot for it.

But, how do I assign slots? As an example, I’ll use an imaginary year not indicative of anything I currently have planned. Let’s say I’ve just released something in April. Once it has been released, I will then go to all the projects I’ve been developing and choose which one will begin development proper (in this case, which one will be written). This allows for creativity to reign supreme, but also creates enough focus that will help projects be seen through to the end instead of being abandoned in favor of seemingly more exciting ideas. And, to diminish the excitement of something brand new, new ideas are developed as they are come up with to satisfy that desire which might interfere with focusing on my active project.

For this year I’m very certain I will release Memory Blood 2, but after Memory Blood 2 is released I’ll begin setting my targets for 2015. I intend to conclude Memory Blood in 2015, but I might find that I want to write something else as well and I might schedule Memory Blood 3 before or after that something else, but that’s not a decision to be made just yet. I’ve got a lot of exciting ideas in the works and I’m looking forward to writing all of them.

As long as I remain realistic and commit to challenges that I can overcome, I think the ideas I’ve developed above will serve me well. If you enjoyed this post, I think it’s likely that I’ll continue to expand upon these ideas in the future so please stay tuned.