Managing multiple writing projects at once

Hello.

This is a first try at a post that is related to writing but that is not a short story or any kind of fiction. I thought it might be useful to set something like this up if there was something particular or useful that I wanted to share.

If you follow my social media, Twitter or especially Instagram, you might have noticed I tend to post a lot of Gantt charts on those platforms. The reason–other than to have something other than screenshots and photos of blank Microsoft word pages–was to motivate myself, but keeping track of those charts and making changes when necessary has been surprisingly useful in helping me manage multiple short story ideas at once.

Below you’ll find a screenshot of my short stories project file, with dozens of columns and even more rows.

Excel-esque sheet to the left, chart to the right, timeline overview at the top

But the bit that really sold me on getting invested into project management software, aside from wanting to learn more about project management in general, was the ease of editing and amending deadlines and start dates, keeping everything in a clear and visual format so that I know when I start falling behind, and when I need to extend the time I need on one short story, when I need to move projects around etc.

Each bar represents a task (in my project’s case, short story or flash fiction). I’ve customized it quite heavily so that each element of the chart looks the way I need it to look. Green bars mark stories >500 words, yellow mark stories 1k-5k words, and red bars mark stories >10k words. The blue diagonal squares at the top represent milestones such as when I need to post a short story on the website, or cultural events that I would like to mark with a special story.

One might say this is just a form of procrastination. I would agree completely with that sentiment.

However using the above I am able to focus on the work that I can get done, and it encourages me to actually get it done.

If you look at the start of the chart, there’s a few bars on the left side and then only one short bar before I start working on multiple projects again. Things happen, and sometimes I can’t get the work done on time, but instead of wallowing in frustration and anxiety, giving up on those projects, I am able to simply move them to another date. You don’t need a visual representation to be able to say “I’ll work on this some other time”, but in my experience that usually meant that I’d move on and never come back to that story.

What I use is expensive, unnecessarily so in my opinion, and I managed to get it at a discounted price however I’d encourage people to use alternatives to Microsoft Project that either offer free trials or offer their services for free at least in a limited capacity. A few solutions for project managing or simple gantt chart making I managed to find through a quick google search include:

clickup

creately

Lucidchart

GanttPRO (offers a free trial)

But if you have access to Excel, you can also add Gantt Charts on there. Here’s a template from a Microsoft website that I found.

Thank you for reading!

Published by Varied Fiction

This site is for the writer's personal blog, visit https://www.variedfiction.com/ for genre fiction: short stories, flashfiction and poetry

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