Best Practices to “Scrum Your Novel”

Best Practice #1: If you like, decide on a time box in which to frame your goal. For instance, set your goal as finishing a chapter a week. If you write 3 to 5 scenes a week, this can make up a chapter. The rest of the days of your week might be used for backlog items of plot, character profiles and research.

Best Practice #2:  If your backlog item is not writing a scene, then you may want to refer to one of these templates, which I use when narrowing down my research area, or building a character profile. There is also a template to help with plotting. Each one of these can be used to fulfill the completion of a backlog item.

Best Practice #3: After your work is done everyday, write a sentence or two about what you worked on and the state it’s in, what you’re going to work on tomorrow, and if there are any blockers.

Best Practice #4: If there are any blockers, be sure to focus on them immediately, so that you can move them out of the way and get down to the real work of writing a novel.

Best Practice #5: Be vigilant. Try to get your 500 words done daily, even if it’s crap. As you watch your backlog items move from “To Do” to “Done,” you build momentum. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to see this gratifying progress toward your goal. There’s something mystical about the power of the kanban board.

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