Sometimes it is helpful to use a document to outline a project. I use them for my novels. I used a project scope template in Word to do that. I call it a project sheet even though the document has thirty pages. I have several sections in each document. The first is an overview of the project/novel. The overview includes the log line for the novel, a one sentence summary. That’s followed by a more detailed premise. After that I then the project milestones, information on publication and the audience. The overview concludes with a high level time line or schedule. I give it a broad set of deadlines.
The next section gives the details of each milestone. The first milestone is usually the background work. I list the tasks related to the background work. These are tasks like beat sheets, character development, and plotting for the book. Each task has deadlines for each piece of the background. The second milestone is writing the first draft. Again, I give it a deadline.
The third milestone is the revision work. This is why the document can run twenty to thirty pages. I have a list of tasks that comprise the revision work. I use that same list for each chapter of the book. Each task has a due date. That’s where the length comes to the document.
Each task across all the milestones have places for me to note their completion. It’s much like a To Do list except I don’t check a box, I enter the date I completed the particular task. That way, I can see whether I’ve completed them on time or if they were overdue. There is even a final sign off for when I publish the book and get it out there. I do each item and sign off on each task.
The project sheet holds me accountable for getting the tasks done. I do keep the deadlines as flexible as I can because life often happens while you are busy with something else. You never know what is going to screw up your plans. While I can’t see everything at a glance, I can find where I am in each project with ease by using the document headings. That can be the difference between success and failure.
Accountability is important when you are trying to reach a goal, in this case, publishing a book. The project sheet does that for me. It may not work for you, but it is a good place to start if you are unsure where to start your project. The project sheet gives you an overview of the work you need to do to do what you need to do. So give it a try and see if it works as well for you as it does for me.