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On editing: agility

Book 2 editing update : nerd version

TLDR: I use spreadsheets and a tech delivery process call ‘agile’ to help me meet deadlines to avoid burnout. I offer classes and workshops if you’re interested in learning more.

So I’m working my way through structural edits/rewrites on book 2 - see story highlights for regular updates - and thought I’d take a minute to write a little about how I use my job skills to apply to my writing targets.

In my day job, I’m responsible for delivering large changes over time and one of the best delivery methods out there (imho) is called ‘agile’ - you may have heard of it or not. Agile delivery has lots of different tools and ‘ceremonies’ & I’ve seen over the year a lot of these filter into the writing processes of many people I know (probably through fellow nerds like myself). My favourite ceremonies are scrums, sprints & burn down measuring.

Scrums: daily goal setting (often with a team), reflection and ‘blocker’ removal. When I have a writing day I try to check in with my ‘scrum’ team - which are other writers I love - in the morning , where we gossip, support each other & help encourage completion of daily goals. It’s hard to scrum when I have a day working my day job, so on those days, I have a virtual scrum, where I write down my goals, acheievements & plan to get my ‘blockers’ out the way.

Sprints: a lot of writers I know use short writing ‘sprints’ to get words down. But In agile terms, sprints are normally several weeks long & are based on the amount of work you need to achieve & the resources (time & people) you have to achieve it. So if I have 80k words to write in 10 weeks, that’s 8k words a week, 1.4k per day. In sprints you work on the (smaller) weekly goal rather than the mountain!

Burndowns: (see picture) - a burn down is a way to visualise productivity (velocity) over the course of the sprints. The goal is to stay on or close to the line. To work more than you need to leads to burn out & is visible when your output line (in this instance ‘words left to edit’ over time) is below the standard velocity (a flat line showing what progress would look like if output was steady).

Anyway, long & short of it, I’m on track for my deadline (yay, @mattie2507) and I have a lovely spreadsheet to show for it.

Whether the book is any good, we’ll find out later!

If you’re interested in this more, or want to learn this things yourself I’ll be offering workshops, mentoring and classes online or in person from September

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