Wednesday, March 09, 2011

This new thing I'm trying

Last week, from Monday afternoon through Thursday evening, I spent completely immersed in Shade #3. It wasn't all writing, technically. Some of it was plotting, outlining, researching, or just daydreaming (I confess: I watched a buttload of MI-5 for inspiration, and it worked--I had several huge breakthroughs while watching the dreamy Tom Quinn and his mates fight terrorists).

For four days, I gave myself permission to do nothing but think about the book. No e-mail, no Twitter, no blogging, no scheduling appearances, no designing, purchasing, signing or mailing of swag. None of the business stuff that gets in the way of the actual work.

It was like a vacation. I haven't been this happy in a long time. Whereas in February I was kind of going through the motions, keeping up with my wordcount but letting the writing be just one of many daily tasks, I am now really, really excited about this book. I know what the central conflicts are (for now), how it ends (for now), and how the plot twists and turns to get there (mostly, for now).

One thing I learned: I suck at balance. A day is either a productive writing day or a productive business day. Rarely (maybe three or four times ever) is it both.

So my new strategy is this: 3 days on, 1 day "off", and so on.

"on" = book, the whole book, and nothing but the book. My goal is to write 2,500 words/"on" day until April 14.*

"off" = every other task involved in keeping this small business running; some fun (like blogging and returning reader e-mail), some not (like updating the website and doing taxes)

As for actual "off" days, well, let's not talk about that.

Today through Friday are "on" (I wrote this blog post yesterday and scheduled it to post today), and then Saturday I go to the MD/DE/WV chapter of SCBWI's Spring conference, where I'm obviously not going to be getting much writing done (that would be really anti-social!).

We'll see how this goes. My entire freelance career has been a series of strategies to trick myself into working. Hopefully this will at least get me through spring.

*This is a stretch, yeah, but it gives me six whole weeks to do the second draft, due June 1. I'm one of those writers who likes to blurt out the first draft, with little editing as I go along, because I know half the scenes are going to be yanked, anyway, so what's the point of making them pretty, or, you know, sensical?



Sounds like a fantastic plan! I need to do something's distracting, all of this other stuff and I feel like my creativity gets sapped.

I REALLY need to stay off of FB and Twitter though :)

I did laugh about your MI-5 inspiration...I did the same thing on my current WIP, watching season of Bones :)

Best of luck on your new plan! And thanks for the inspiration.

Posted by: Blogger Heather Snow at 3/09/2011 10:38 AM

That sounds like an excellent idea! I have to tell you thought the fine print at the bottom where you say half the scenes will be "yanked" anyway shoots fear right into my little aspiring writer heart lol I can’t imagine any scenes I’ve written being taken away. I’m in for a rude awakening if I ever get published. Anyway, you can do it! And more than that, you deserve that creative day.
= ) Happy writing!

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 3/09/2011 10:47 AM

I love this concept! I've found that, when I'm working up a new book, I need the same thing: days devoted only to noodling about it. I've started taking a week of vacation from work to do it. (since I don't be so lucky as you) THEN I can start writing daily. If I could, I'd follow a pattern like yours. Keep us posted on how it works!

Posted by: Blogger Jeffe Kennedy at 3/09/2011 10:54 AM

Hey just out of curiosity, are you planning to have any more ARC giveaways?

Posted by: Blogger HayleyAG at 3/09/2011 1:01 PM

Hey, I'm going to be at the conference this Saturday too! I'll look for you there :)

Posted by: Blogger Andrea Coulter at 3/09/2011 1:44 PM

I'm sorry you have to trick yourself into working, but thank you for saying it! I have to trick/force/beat/guilt/terrorize myself into work sometimes.

I've been trying to sneak my writing work into my day job work hours, but I've still been shortchanging the work-work: the writing.

I'm back on tonight though. Thank you for the boost!

Posted by: Blogger Jessa Slade at 3/09/2011 3:36 PM

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