On Freelance Switch I found an interview with copywriter Ed Gandia. He’s written a book about how to become a successful copywriter. The bit of the interview I found most interesting was this:
“Every time I attempt something big, I set goals, draft a plan and keep detailed notes of what worked and didn’t work.”
He used those notes five years later to write his book, but I think this is a great idea even if you don’t plan to write a book about whatever you’re doing. At the very least it’ll give you something to look at the next time you embark on a similar project.
I’ve spent the last two weeks on the island of Porto Santo (near Madeira), working on my novel, and have started making side notes about the key issues that are coming up about structure, characterization, description, etc. in hopes they’ll make the struggle a little easier next time.