Besides a compass, many modern hikers may use a GPS device specifically designed to show terrain. Bottom line, the hiker is trying to get his bearings and set a course. A writer needs to get his bearings and course 1) at the outset of his journey, 2) any time he needs to make course correction (he got too far off-subject), or 3) he is just plain lost (not knowing how to proceed). But what are his compass and GPS tools?Reflect, Review, Project: At the outset of his journey he needs to reflect on the general direction he wants to take--his goal(s) and waypoints. It is a good idea to write down a synopsis of the project--and perhap, in retrospect, this is really what I intended by recommending knowing the ending of your project in my original Smart Writers article. When he gets too far off course, he will want to review his synopsis and revise his heading (direction). When he gets lost or discovers an expected path, he will use all three tools. He should reflect on what he wanted to accomplish initially, review what had already been accomplished, make whatever course changes will help him to the next step (changing up the ending of a chapter so that it better leads into the next; adding another chapter, etc.), and then briefly project (outline) what his next path will be.
This article is part of a series. Please scroll through the Index to "Inspiration For Writers."