Here, it is, the last Monday in August already. Really! For those of us who have kids, or are still students ourselves, or work for schools, there’s a clear demarcation between summer and fall. The school year offers the steady hum of routine, getting back to habits we may’ve let slide during hectic travel or leisurely days with the kids at the park. (Okay, maybe not leisurely, but not related to writing.)
I like routine, crave it in fact. But sometimes even a routine isn’t enough when you have to get a lot of words out in a small amount of time. I’ve calculated that in the next two months I need to draft at least 40,000 new words, and then revise them along with whatever I’m able to salvage from the first version of my manuscript. The whole thing needs to be tidied up and wrapped in a bow by November 1st.
So I’m panicking. Just a little.
I’m not the fastest writer, yet I need to meet my obligations. What’s a writer to do? Well, here’s how I’ll attack it.
1) Carve out a schedule. This will mean saying no to things I don’t normally say no to this fall. It also means prioritizing and taking time where I can get it. Whatever it takes to fit in at least twenty hours of writing a week.
2) Plan before I write. I have a chapter map that consists of a brief description for each new scene. Knowing what I want to accomplish before I start pumping out words each day saves on a lot of frittering. Taking a little time at the end of each writing session, when the momentum is flowing, to jot down ideas of what I should write the next day helps too.
3) Cut the distractions. For me, this is spelled: I.N.T.E.R.N.E.T. As much as I love being connected, I curse it. Back in the day when not all coffee shops were wired, I could choose places that DIDN’T have wifi when I really needed to get stuff done. This is now almost impossible. Two ways around this are: 1) Use tools that block out the Net, and 2) work off of hard copy whenever possible. Even though this latter technique adds the extra step of having to transcribe whatever I’ve scribbled onto pages, it’s still faster than working at a computer and constantly taking breaks to surf.
4) Whenever I feel overwhelmed, chant, “One page at a time; one page at a time…” It’s a mantra I trust, because it’s helped get me through tight deadlines before.
Will this be enough? It has to be. At any rate, you’ll see my progress on Twitter!
Any advice? I’d love to hear it.
For this week’s giveaway, I’m offering another book from my collection (minus whatever this week’s winner chooses. The full list can be found at the bottom of this previous post.
p.s. The winner of last week’s giveaway is Kim Baccellia! Please choose a book from the collection or let me know if you’d like a hoopdance DVD instead. Email your choice and mailing address to jamr88 at gmail dot com.