The first part of this series focused on the laborer role of a writer. The laborer can best be summarized as getting the work done and trying to do it effectively. There is more to writing than completing tasks, so today will focus on one of the most important non-writing roles: Management.
When I use manager here picture the best boss you’ve ever had, not your run-of-the-mill manager who is, frankly, forgettable. It is the roles of an effective manager that a writer should be interested in. The manager oversees the work and sets goals for the laborer to achieve, the manager realizes that resources are finite and must be watched closely, and he/she ensures projects are completed on time.
No matter the level of writer you might be I recommend setting a deadline for your project. It is good practice for the real world of writing where you might be required to, say, write five short stories a month or write a novel in only three months. Meeting those deadlines will make require the writer to invest more time and effort but will almost always ensure a better product. Setting a deadline is the managers way of expressing the importance of the project and it will encourage the laborer to focus his effort.
A writer has a few resources they need to take into account and neglecting to do so will result in large scale failure of a writer. The resources that I’m referencing are mental resources. Various studies have concluded that willpower is a limited resource and must therefore be acknowledged with regard to writing. A writer will find it difficult, if not impossible, to write with depleted willpower. Energy and stress are other factors that must be considered while managing your writing time. It’s clear that your best work mightn’t get done while you’re exhausted, but there may be something you can start writing that won’t detriment you as much for writing tired. It takes an effective manager to care for yourself enough so that you can sit down at a desk and write.
Goal Setting and Tasks
While wearing your management hat while writing, it is imperative to have a large picture view of your writing projects. A manager must set goals and break down those goals into manageable tasks for the laborer to complete. Notice the distinction here, a manager must go beyond having a goal into recognizing and realizing the baby steps to get to the goal. Management is the difference between dreaming about writing a novel and actually getting it done.
Writers become effective managers for the sake of their writing and though some writers, like George R. R. Martin, may have an underdeveloped manager role in his writing, any writer will benefit manifold for having a developed managerial ability.