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. 🙂
FIRST DRAFT (aka — the ACTUAL writing)
Incorporating paper edits (more ACTUAL writing)
Incorporating The Editor’s edits (more ACTUAL writing)
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!