How to Use Trello and Due Dates to Write Your Book

Trello-blogWhen did it become May? We are already 5 months into 2015 and I still have a lot of work to do on my book.

In this post, you will discover how I used Trello to create a revisions calendar and establish due dates so I can finish my book by the end of 2015.


Due Dates and Productivity

For me, April proved to be a productive month.

I finished an academic journal article and an article for the Journal of the American Revolution. Additionally, I attended two conferences (RevReborn 2 & NCPH 2015) and produced five podcast episodes.

As I reflected on April, I began to wonder: How could I replicate and experience this productivity with my book?

After thinking for a few moments, I realized that due dates had made me productive in April. This understanding prompted me to sit down and compose an aggressive, but feasible revisions calendar.


How to Create a Revisions Calendar with Trello

I used a free, web-based tool called Trello to create my revisions calendar.

Trello allows you to better visualize your projects and the work needed to complete them with project boards, lists, and cards.

You create a project board for each project you want to work on and complete. I titled my project board "AMERICA'S FIRST GATEWAY," the tentative title for my book.

Trello Board

Lists help you identify the different stages of your project.

For example, my project board consists of four lists: "To Do," "Doing," "Done," and "Waiting for Feedback." Lists work in tandem with cards to help you visualize your project.

Cards help you breakdown your project into individual parts.

On a card, you can create checklists for tasks related to this part of your project, set due dates, assign labels, add research or supporting materials, and assign work to your co-collaborators.

Trello Card

Cards live on lists.

For example, on my "To Do" list, I created cards for each chapter of my book. I used the checklist feature to detail the work that I need to do to finish that chapter. I also assigned a label to each chapter card as I need draft some chapters, re-write or edit others, and there is one chapter that requires a bit more research. The color-coded labels allow me to better visualize the work I need to do.

To-Do List


Due Dates & Accountability

Visualizing my project using Trello helped me set due dates for each chapter of my book.

Admittedly, I had to make educated guesses about how long the work on each chapter will take me. I tried to be realistic as I not only want to finish my book, but I want do a good job.

However, creating this revisions calendar and setting due dates is not enough. I really want to finish my book and I know myself: I am great at completing work by deadlines when the work is for someone else. I tend to miss due dates when I try to impose them upon myself.

I need accountability.

Therefore, I have shared my revisions calendar with my writing buddies and now I am sharing it with you.

My hope is that these due dates will motivate me to reproduce my productive April and apply its efficiency to my book.

Share Your Story

What techniques have you used to finish your book and meet your goals?

Have you ever used Trello? Do you have any tips or tricks you could share?