Sunday Update: Nearly There! (On One More Book)

Writing goals are so funny. My husband stopped trying to keep track of the stages of all my projects long ago….not for a reason of disinterest, but because there are so many STEPS to completing a book. When I cheer “I’m DONE!” or “Finished!” he assumes I’m about to hit the publish button….but it’s usually one of the previous steps I’m congratulating myself about. 🙂

Let’s see…there’s:
Concept development
Outlining
FIRST DRAFT (aka — the ACTUAL writing)
Paper edit
Incorporating paper edits (more ACTUAL writing)
The Editor
Incorporating The Editor’s edits (more ACTUAL writing)
Beta Readers
Incorporating Beta Reader edits/comments
Final formatting run through
….and finally PUBLISH

The very cool thing is that over the years of practice I’ve gotten speedier at each and every stage. I trust my writer self a lot more now, but I’m also more brutal with her — after all, the point has changed.

When I began, the point was to prove to myself I could finish a book, a publishable, fun to read book. I’ve done that repeatedly over the past couple of years, and that’s no longer the point.

Now the idea is to finish a story with a minimum of futzing around, and move on to the next (in my list of well over 50 tales I want to tell….and growing).

On the other hand, I realized late in 2013 that I had to appreciate and enjoy the ACT OF WRITING more: that remains a major reason I pursue all of these tales, the challenge and exhilaration of setting the words of a story to the page. (Go back to my list above and note the stages at which this happens…I’ve discovered they’re stages I’m constantly seeking and want to stay in ALL the time…which is one of the reasons for the many projects; I’m always WRITING something.)

How do I accomplish both goals? Improved efficiency and enjoyment of the craft — are they compatible?  Yes. Here’s how I’ll do it: In 2014 I’ll reclaim my morning writing from the days prior to babies. There was a time when I began my day in the way I chose. When you get your dream, your big life goal, accomplished first thing in the morning, it opens up all sorts of space in the mind for other things. I’m excited about both the practice and the ramifications, but now I have to get into the swing of it.

One time this week I rose at 5, walked the dog, poured a cup of coffee, and got in 500 words before the kids woke up. My goal is three days a week at this practice (two more days are in-office work days, and my office is a 60-mile commute away so I get out the door ASAP; and I’m not getting up uber early on the weekends).

My three days of rising early and writing won’t replace the writing I fit in between things in 10 and 15 minute sprints (the way I’ve accomplished much of my writing while raising babies) or writing in the evenings. But the desire to get more of my writing done has finally started to outweigh the desire for more sleep…it should be a productive year.

I wrote just under 2,800 words this week (getting un-stuck on this book in the process) and finished one of the three remaining scenes in Chaos Calling, the next novel I’ll publish. I plan to write at least 2,000 more in the next two days as I write the remaining two scenes.

This week’s goals:
-Rise early and write (after walking the dog) Monday, Thursday & Friday
-Write at least 5,000 new words of fiction
-Finish the first draft of Chaos Calling, have it printed, and begin editing — FAST! I want the paper edit completed in two to three weeks. This is an area where I’ve let manuscripts just hang out in the past, and that can’t happen any more. This baby needs to be free. 🙂

Best of luck to my writer friends. Thanks for all of your support, and for your tolerance as I’ve been fairly quiet, working things out in my own mind. ROWers are a great crew. Best of luck this week!

About J.R. Pearse Nelson

J.R. Pearse Nelson is a native Oregonian, residing in the beautiful Portland area. She lives with her husband, two small daughters and the family dog. J.R. is always searching for the magic in our world. She weaves tales rooted in mythology, bringing legend to life in modern-day and fantasy settings.

J.R. is the author of the Children of the Sidhe paranormal romance series, the Foulweather Twins fantasy series, and the Water Rites fantasy series.

You can connect with J.R. online at her website. Visit jrpearsenelson.com.

8 comments on “Sunday Update: Nearly There! (On One More Book)

  1. Looks like you’re doing really well! And those are great goals. I’ve been thinking of writing in the morning before work for a long time, but can’t seem to slide it into my routine. And being that I’m not a morning person, I’m barely coherent when I wake up. But it would be nice to have it done before work, because sometimes I’m too tired after and it’s a struggle.

    Good luck to you! Your books look awesome!

    • Thanks, Erin! I’m one of those freaky people who pops out of bed fully awake. The morning gets more brutal when I remember how much crap I have to do. lol That’s when the need for coffee strikes; it’s more for emotional comfort than that I actually need it to be awake.

  2. Getting up early is how I get most of my writing done. My kids tend to be up at 6(at the latest), so I try to be at the computer by 4:30-5. It’s gotten easier the longer I’ve done it. Good luck this week.

  3. I think the moments you yell “Done!” are when I fine my writing the most enjoyable. I’m so immersed in the actual making (be it the actual scene or the act of writing), I don’t feel it in the process. Not that I mind, for it ends up giving me a greater “writer high” when I reach those done moments.

    I wish you luck getting more enjoyment and with your goals.

    • Some stages are more tedious than others, that’s for sure. That’s why I do take time to note those “writer high” moments — getting there is a ton of work, so once we’ve climbed that mountain we have to ENJOY it. 🙂

  4. Yes! Free the Chaos! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your writing steps. I think everyone has their own process, but most of it is similar to yours. I would get up early and write, but that’s my exercise time.

  5. I just wrote my own step-by-step list to the writing process this week. Non-writers don’t realize how many steps there actually are – sometimes even when they live with a writer.

    All the best as you buckle down and accomplish your goals.

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