watching: 27 Dresses
reading: Hunger by Michael Grant
listening to: Vacation Rain by Sister Hazel
So it’s crunch time this week. Three months – 12 weeks – is up tomorrow. And I have to say, the question I put to my writing demon (let’s call him Steve): “hmm… wonder if I can write a whole book in three months?” ended up with him laughing in my face, then yelling, “No! Hah, what were you thinking?”
As I look at the pages, I find I have 28K (give or take) to go. Wait, really? Yep. I’m close to half-way there in terms of actual words on the screen.
Which is interesting. So like every goal not achieved, I take a look at three important things:
1. what did I do right?
I had a basic plot mapped out. I fleshed out my character sheets to give my story direction. And I had a time frame and deadline (very important if you want to achieve a goal!) I wasn’t besieged with days of flu (unlike my last book!), or weeks of precautionary swine flu quarantine or my son’s chicken pox, colds and some expert acting from ‘muscle pains’ that mysteriously disappeared around 10am.
2. what did I learn?
I learned – again – that because I didn’t have my writing time blocked out (visually, on my calendar), I got easily distracted (duh). Surfing, blog posts, website tinkering, research that spiraled into hours of aimless wandering through unrelated websites. I didn’t close my office door so walk-pasts from family members were inevitable. I also made a few appointments that could have easily been done on the weekends instead (when I don’t write).
I also learned I’m more of a flimmer than I thought. Elements of the story have come to me while I’ve been plotting (also known as “staring at the wall and daydreaming”) which is a very flimmer-like quality.
3. what can I do differently?
I need to ensure I keep my visual calendar up-to-date, regularly update my complete word count (which gives me a confidence boost every time it increases!). I need to say no to non-essential P&C/PTA school activities. I need to close my office door 😀
The story beginning, some turning points and the end started complete in my head. But it’s the getting them down which is the problem. And I think to do that, I really have to make a mental decision to commit to the story instead of letting myself being distracted by external factors. This can be a major problem, because being an author isn’t a ‘normal’ job. You don’t dress for the office, commute, put in your 7+ hours, then drop everything and go home. You’re switched on 24-7. The stories are always there in your head, clamoring for attention, demanding to be written. You think about your characters in the supermarket isle, you toss over plot scenarios while you’re at the gym, you go over GMC as you eat dinner. Everything you read, watch or witness has the potential to be part of a story and that can get tiring after a while. And even when you go to bed, you dream up stuff (I’ve had the best story ideas asleep!)
Okay, so it isn’t all doom and gloom. I deliberately gave myself a month’s leeway from my actual book deadline, so I still have (studies calendar closely…) a good 20 days to write 28K. That’s roughly (calculates)… 1400 words a day, just under 6 pages a day. Can be done. Well, has to be done 😛
How did all of you go? Any insights? Any major setbacks? Post here, let me know how you went and you could win Getting The Words Right: How to rewrite, edit and revise (Writers Digest) by Theodore Cheney. I’ll draw a random poster on Sunday May 2nd the 7th (Friday)!