A few months ago, I read an excellent blog post by Steven Pressfield, called Think Like A Studio. In the article, Pressfield describes the production process of Hollywood studios, and encourages writers, and other creatives to adapt that process for their own work. In Hollywood, studios have a production schedule. This means that they have more than one project lined up – and that they usually have several projects that are all in different stages of development.
I found Pressfield’s article to be fascinating, and since reading his post, I have created my own Development Slate.
My Development Slate exists in two places. The first place, is on my computer. Every single idea I have ever had is contained on a Word Document. When I begin to flesh out an idea, it gets its own word document, and its own folder. I prioritize my fifteen most developed project by creating a physical call sheet for them, that is filed in an expandable folder. This allows me to pull the call sheet out at any time, and assess the progress of my work.
Some thoughts on the benefits of creating your own Development Slate:
This was the number one reason why Pressfield’s article Think Like A Studio, resonated with me. I have been able to categorize and sort, every single idea, thought, draft, or full manuscript that I have ever written. I’ve even extended the Development Slate to include the blog posts for my personal blogs, the copy I write for other clients, and the blog posts I write for the CCC! It has been instrumental in creating order out of what is inherently a chaotic process.
Beyond just getting organized, my Development Slate allows me to focus on my writing. There was definitely some work up front to get it all organized, but now that everything is in the system, it is incredibly easy for me to just focus on writing. If I have an idea for a story, it’s a two click process to fit that new idea into my Development Slate. If I want to flesh out something I’ve already been working on, that’s a two click process as well. The Development Slate allows me to work on multiple projects, that are all in different stages of completion. I can see in a glance where a project is in production, and what I need to do to meet my writing goals, and deadlines. This allows me to complete my work in a reasonable time frame, without a mad dash to the finish line.
What I like most about my Development Slate is how customizable it is.I get to decide which project I work on, and when, and I can change my Development Slate according to different aspects; what new ideas I’ve had, how work is coming along on certain projects. Structuring my Development Slate has allowed me to become more productive, even though I’m working on more projects than ever before!
What do you think of creating a Development Slate? Tell me in the comments below!
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