Getting Shit Done Writing

Read The 12 Week Year for Writers

Read The 12 Week Year for Writers

In this book we show writers how to use the 12 Week Year system to help them increase their productivity dramatically. The 12WY for Writers system, based on the principles of the 12 Week Year and honed over many years of helping students learn to write more effectively, is a strategic operating system for writers. The system helps writers answer the most fundamental and big picture questions: What is my vision for the future? What are my writing goals? What are the best strategies and tactics to achieve those goals? How can I manage my writing process to ensure that I stay focused, productive, and on track?

While the examples primarily draw from academia, the structure is also applicable to fiction writing. This book won’t help you figure out the steps of your writing project, but does seem very helpful for *accomplishing* the steps. I have some quibbles about his emphasis on grit, but agree with his overall philosophy of time >> writing and planning >> better, easier, faster writing.

I am excited to try out this approach in conjunction with Sarra Cannon’s Plan Your Writing Schedule workshop on YouTube, which starts by going through your calendar and identifying all the days you *can’t* write so you know exactly how many days are even available to you.

Business Writing

Watched Plan Your 2023 Writing Year


Super useful way to think through the year and see truly how much time I have available to work on projects. Combining this big picture thinking with the 12 Week Year approach for quarter by quarter planning is going to make a big difference in figuring out a reasonable, realistic workload and accomplishing my goals. I hope to publish my first two books in 2023; this exercise made me recognize that is doable but tight since it involves finishing writing one of the books and revising both, plus figuring out a bunch of self-publishing steps I haven’t done before.

I also have to decide if I can afford to take Fridays off of writing as I currently have planned, which only gives me four writing days weekly. Writing only four days a week and giving myself 4 weeks off of writing (two weeks vacation plus two planning weeks) and 2-4 random extra days off a month (appointments, trainings, conferences, headaches, consulting work) works out to about 145-150 working days. Considering I have brain capacity for about 3-4 hours of fiction writing on a standard day, that’s not many hours of actual writing time available, about 430-600 hours for the year. (Of course, that is significantly more than I have been doing, so…)

I’ll definitely need to push back the ARC I scheduled for mid-April 😂 To pick a new date, I’ll need to decide what order I’m going to work on projects — my current plan is to finish writing the rough draft of Book 2, then go back and finish revising Book 1. I was hoping I’d finish writing Book 2 by the end of the year but between my realizations about plot changes and following a mellower writing schedule, that certainly is not happening.

Entrepreneurship Getting Shit Done

What’s the scary part of your project?

Bookmarked Five useful questions by Seth Godin (Seth's Blog)

They might be difficult to answer, but your project will benefit:
What’s the hard part?
How are you spending your time?
What do you need to know?
What is the scary part?
Is it worth it?


Rules for New Projects

Bookmarked MJD 59,326 by Venkatesh Rao (ribbonfarm)

I am considering adopting two rules for projects that I think are very promising for 40+ lifestyles.

No new top-level projects (TLPs)
Ten-year commitments to projects or no deal

I don’t always agree with Rao but he usually makes me think.

I like this categorization of “top-level projects” as ones you’d buy a new domain for.

Interesting thought to approach new projects with such a long commitment mindset. Could see that hindering experimentation possibly, but you could experiment within that domain for some things – though stuff like exploring a career change or something might be harder to justify when you feel you must commit early.


The Daily Grind vs. Sprint Cycles

Bookmarked Plodding and Bursting by Steve Pavlina (Steve Pavlina)

Plodding and bursting are two different strategies for getting things done. Plodding means persevering with a steady and stable workflow day after day. Bursting means working in short, temporary cycles of highly focused work while tuning out anything unrelated to the project at hand.

Interesting thoughts about cadence and work. I feel like lots of talk about creative work is about the daily grind and disdains “waiting for inspiration.” But that might not be the only reason people don’t work on projects every day. I’m not sure what work style works best for me but have a suspicion that I do better with projects – yet I’ve been forcing myself to build up a daily habit. (If you can call it that when it’s certainly not a habit.)

Getting Shit Done

Feeling like You’re Making Progress on Big Projects

Liked How to Feel Progress by Jocelyn K. Glei (

As humans, we can’t help but be goal-oriented. We love to move forward. We love to feel a sense of momentum. And, more than anything, we love to tick things off a list.
This manifests as something called completion bias, a happy-making hit of dopamine that we get whenever we r…

Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.

Simpler ways of tracking progress could include:

  • Making a Post-It grid of all your tasks.
  • Track metrics on a daily calendar.
  • Write in a diary for 5 minutes a day… You simply make a practice of writing for just a few minutes at the end of each workday, noting down both your “small wins” and any setbacks. Then, at the end of the week or the month, flip back through your notes and see how far you’ve come.