Monday, January 16, 2012

How I Work

Now I know that every writer is different and what works for me may not work for others, but I felt I should share something that's pretty simple that has amped up my novel-editing productiveness quite a bit. (And I suppose it could apply to any big project, not just writing.)

I can't tell you how much time I've wasted on my work-in-progress just sitting there and typing as much as I could in the hour or two of writing time I get each day. I thought just sitting my butt in the chair and typing until I got tired was the best way to work. Problem was, when I went back and read what I'd written the next day, it was weak and often needed two or three more passes before I could get it to the quality level I wanted.

About the middle of last year I started making vague notes on my wall calendar, saying "Work on chapter 10 today" or something along those lines. That worked a little better. That at least got me more focused.

But things have really started to pick up now that I've got my 2012 calendar. It's a desk calendar, but it only shows one week at a time and has plenty of space for notes.

My calendar! (Notes area blurred to protect innocent plot points.)

It's fabulous. I've been able to schedule exactly what scene I'm going to work on each day. And during that day, that's the only scene I touch. So instead of spreading my energy out over as many scenes as I can humanly get to in my allotted writing time period, I make sure I focus my creative energy on one or two scenes so I get it right during my first edit, instead of having to go back over it three or four times to make it my best writing.

I've also started marking the day in green colored pencil when I make my goal for the day, or red when I don't. I'm hoping when I look back it will help me better understand my habits and how to schedule myself to get the most out of my writing time.

Also I love the extra blank space on this calendar. It means I can jot down that background character's name I can never remember (and that I need to know for my current scene) without having to pull out my bazillion pages of notes. I can draw myself diagrams for my fight scenes. Or I can draw sad faces while I'm stuck on a tricky bit of plotting.

In short, it's been a real time saver. I've been planning out my week in advance on Sundays and then adjusting as necessary (like when I get home from a long day at work and I don't have enough brain power to figure out what to eat for dinner, let alone to work on my novel).

If you're struggling with time management and getting the highest quality of work in fewer revisions, I'd definitely suggest trying out a weekly calendar!

Ps.(I got mine at Staples, but the company apparently also has a website here: Orange Circle.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Novel Updates

My blog looked lonely, so I decided I needed to put SOMETHING up here besides a picture of my crazy cat. Fighting with my work in progress has sucked up a lot of my free time and creative energy.

Wannabe Writers is a meme started by Sarah of the blog Confessions of the Un-Published!. I am using her wonderful idea to help track my progress as I wrestle with my novel manuscript.

Where I am in the writing process: I've got a full draft and have been doing major edits to the novel for about a year now. I've got about five more chapters to fix. (During the re-write I added a new character to the story which has caused me to have to re-write everything to accommodate his presence.) After that, I'm going to go back through and make some tweaks. Then I'm going to let some people read it and tell me what sucks about it so those things can be fixed.

Almost there! (Blurred a bit to protect innocent plot points.)

My current problem(s): Fight scenes. Ugh! I'm not good at them, and I'm at one of the biggest ones in my book, so it's slowed me way down while I try to get it right. To keep myself from freaking out, I've divided it into several different pieces and am trying to tackle one at a time. Baby steps!

The good news: I'm only a little less than 5 chapters away from having finished my major revisions! Oh, and there's one particular chapter that I love so much that I want to giggle and clap my hands every time I read back over it.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Not slacking!

I am not slacking again.

I am totally working on a post.

It will be here ... soon..ish.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Last year was a blast overall. I have major edits finished on 12 (almost 13) of my 18-chapter novel and have learned a lot in the process. I feel like everything is coming together nicely and can't wait to see what next year holds!

Here are a few of my hopes for 2012:

- Get back into a regular writing schedule.
- Find the best time of day to write.
- Finish my first novel, "God Haunted."
- Start the sequel.
- Find an agent and actually sell my first novel.
- Get through the books in my "to be read" pile.
- Invent a way to read three books at one time.
- Read more widely out of my favorite genre.
- Keep my apartment clean.
- Get my first house.
- Keep that house clean.
- Get back into drawing.
- Get back into a regular exercise schedule.
- Lose those 10 lbs I put on since Thanksgiving.
- Blog more than once every three months.

Well, I'm off to work on number three on that list. (Oh hey, I guess I just did some work toward the last one on the list, too. It's only Jan. 1 and I'm ROCKING this resolution thing!)

I hope 2012 is a spectacular year for everyone!
Imagination Designs