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A Structured Process for Creative Projects #Guidebook #NaNoWriMo

By Joyweesemoll @joyweesemoll

On Sunday, I introduced The Guidebook and, yesterday, I shared how The Guidebook helped me successfully complete NaNoWriMo and many other creative projects.

Today, I'll go into more details about The Guidebook.

The Guidebook leads me through six stages:

  1. Dreamer - in which an idea gets expressed as a wish
  2. Dabbler - in which the wish blossoms into possibilities
  3. BFF - in which I commit to one of the possibilities
  4. Planner - in which I figure out how to do the work
  5. Traveler - in which I tackle the work the way that I would a fine adventure
  6. Shepherd - in which I figure out how to maintain and care for the completed project

Here's an illustration of the process:

The Guidebook can be used for anything from enjoying a day at the ballpark to enacting a political campaign.

For a quick illustration, here's how The Guidebook could be used to plan a dinner party.

Dreamer. Play with ideas, building on previous experiences. Explore party ideas on the web and in books and magazines. Set up a physical or digital file that includes a log sheet, clippings or web links, and task lists.

Dabbler. Imagine potential themes and schemes. Think creatively about the possibilities.

BFF. Examine the possibilities and consider what might work best for this dinner party. Decide if a dinner party is the right idea at the right time. If it is, commit to it and determine the basics - date, venue, theme, guest list.

Planner. Consulting the ideas from previous stages, fill a wall with sticky notes that envision the party in all its parts. Create a spreadsheet with a to-do list and assign tasks to everyone who will contribute to the implementation.

Traveler. Complete the chores by following the plan. When things get hard or go awry, revise the plan, break tasks into baby steps, and turn unplanned glitches into happy happenstances. Enjoy the party!

Shepherd. Clean up the mess, compile a list of things you'd do differently next time, and save the photos where they will elicit happy memories of your fun event.

The Guidebook is presented linearly, but it can be abbreviated, expanded, and circled to suit projects that are small and quick or ones that are large and complicated.

This fall, I'll be using The Guidebook to lead me through NaNoWriMo, a project to write a 50,000-word novel in November. Tomorrow, I'll share details about how that will work, with dates for each of the stages.

Would you like to join me this fall? You could use The Guidebook for NaNoWriMo or some other project that will take about three months to complete. Send me an email or leave a comment.

A Structured Process for Creative Projects #Guidebook #NaNoWriMo

About Joy Weese Moll

a librarian writing about books

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