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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Personalize the Action Map to Free Your Writing

action map 3In our previous post, we illustrated how to use an Action Map to break big writing projects into small steps you can work on in a 15 minute Product Time session.

You don’t need your Action Map to be perfect, but the more details you capture on Post-It Notes™, the more effective you can be in using the map.

After you capture your first ideas about the steps needed to complete a big writing project on Post-It Notes™, these questions will help you personalize your Action Map. As you write your responses in a journal or document, add Post-It Notes™ to your Action Map to identify all the steps you need to take to fully complete the project and achieve the results you want.

questions canstockphoto7418437 (2)Why is this project important to you as a writer and to your community?

How will you know when you have completed this project? What must happen for you to feel satisfied with the project’s outcome? For example: you have fun, feel more confident, satisfied and proud, you publish your work, and so  on.

Who, in addition to you, will be involved with this project and how will they participate? For example: people you’ll interview will participate by giving you time, answering your questions, suggesting other resources to explore; your writer’s group and beta readers will give you feedback. Who will be affected by the actions you take to complete this project?

What materials, supplies, equipment, space, people, financial and time resources will you need to complete the project? For example, you might need new database to record your research or submissions, or child care to give you time to write.

How can you best employ your Action Map? Some writers post their Action Map where they’ll see it everyday. Others like to put their Action Maps in file folders that can be filed when they’re not working on the project mapped.

Some writers like to put a gold star, check mark or other indicator when they complete the step on a Post-It Note™ so they can see how much they’ve accomplished. Others prefer to move completed Post-It Notes™ to another file so that their Action Map shows only what remains to be done.

Some writers like to use different sizes and colors of Post-It Notes™ on their Action Maps; others prefer to keep the Action Map simple and consistent.

Please share your Action Mapping questions, successes and preferences.

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