Podcast No. 2.23
SCRUM for writers, The 4-Hour Workweek, The Sea at Sunrise
A lot of fuss has been made about the SCRUM Agile framework methodology (I know, it’s a mouthful—let’s just call it SCRUM from here on). SCRUM is a method of business management created by and for software developers to ensure the customer stays at the forefront of design and that challenges are worked on daily. It’s apparently a phenomenal paradigm shift for business leaders who employ it. I read through a few websites (including the folks at scrum.org) and I was a bit baffled at first. It’s very technical. But after digesting it, I started looking at my writing process and thought through how I could apply SCRUM principles to my writing process. Here’s what I worked out.
There are two main components of the framework: people and process. The people component is broken down into three groups: your readers, your team, and you (the Chief Creative Officer, as I like to call it).
Your readers are the people who pay for and read what you write. These are your customers and ultimately own the experience of your story. Their desires and expectations will determine the success of your work.
Your team is composed of the writer (you), an editor (maybe?), and beta readers (hopefully). All of you work together to produce a quality piece of writing.
And the CCO (or Chief Creative Officer) is you, the writer. You are responsible for maintaining the process and facilitating the team in their work. If any blocks come up during the process, the CCO works to remove them. Essentially, the CCO is the coach for the team and lead planner for the process—and the monitor who tries to understand what the readers are looking for.
The second component is the process. This covers all the aspects of planning, producing, and publishing your writing. This component is broken down into five parts.
The first part is the work itself. The work is the set of requirements to complete a story, usually thought of as scenes. Scenes are built during outline development. The writer picks a scene to work on during the writing portion.
Next comes the writing plan. Either with your team or alone, here you take time to plan out what you will tackle for your next writing session. During this portion, you develop the story outline and plan the scenes as work items for the writing session.
Each morning you will conduct a daily setup. During this short period you can review progress (or lack of it) made on your writing project for the previous day. Make sure you take the time to reflect on the day’s work and plan what you want to get done for the current day.
The core of the whole process is the writing. First, choose a work item (i.e., a scene) and work on that item until it is finished; choose another work item, finish it, and repeat. Writing sessions can be thought of on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. This time can also be used as an editing session. Select a reasonable period and edit a finished manuscript.
Finally, we have a writing review. After each writing session, take a couple of hours and evaluate how that period went. Read over what you wrote during that session and see if the characters, scenes, and the direction of the story need any changes.
That’s it, How to SCRUM for Indie Writers. Take it for what it’s worth and let me know if it helped you become more productive.
I finally picked up a copy of The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris. I know; I’m late to the game. I haven’t finished it yet, but it has already inspired me to dreamline—Tim’s concept of making a big plan and executing it. I’ll reveal my dreamline later this year, but I will say that Tim’s book is great at getting you to think about what’s important in life and going after it.
I would give it a score of 10 out of 10 so far. Overall, it’s a book for dreamers and folks who want to escape the 9-5.
This week I’m going to read from my best-selling book, The Sea at Sunrise. I’m in the process of turning the book into a screenplay and I’ll share that with you when it’s done. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this little taste from the book.