Classes are winding up this week. With the month of May off until starting my next class in June, I want to try and get as much down on my story as possible. I’m also trying to get a leg up on my June class since it is sixteen weeks crammed into four. I expect it to be very fast paced and demanding on my time. Therefore, I don’t expect to get a chance to work on my novel much during either June or July (another short class).
So May is my “get it done” month. I mentioned before a book I’m using to outline my book before doing any further writing. It’s called 90 Days to Your Novelby Sarah Domet. The first four weeks is the process of creating an outline. Well, I’m going to do this, but I will change it up a bit due to my time crunch. I plan (I love that word) to continue to write whatever comes to mind. Right now that would be chapter four, which is already taking shape in my mind. And, work on my outline; my goal to complete it in two weeks instead of four.
We’ll see how it goes as I work through the month.
At the same time, I want to get a leg up on reading for my “Science Fiction/Fantasy” class in June. So I’m reading our text, How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasyby Orson Scott Card. While I don’t have much time, I think this will benefit me in two ways: it will guide me in writing my current novel (more ideas for the grist mill), and it will get me a head start on class.
Of course, we all know the best laid plans often are never realized. I’ve never really wanted to make concrete plans because I knew inevitably they would change. But as a writer you have to accept this will happen, but still plan in order to stay on track. I have come to accept this trade-off as a given in the writing process.
Another thing I’ve contemplated lately about the writing process is when to work; what should my schedule look like?
I got some great feedback from my classmates on this topic and something one of them said really clicked. He told me that I shouldn’t think of working in terms of hours; my goal should be maybe 1,000 words a day, or maybe neither hours nor word count but just writing until my brain is empty. After writing chapter three I found this to be true. I didn’t have any clue what to write next, like my brain was empty. But after a few days, chapter four started to take shape in my mind.
My past jobs have given me a mind-set that says you have to use hours as a measure of accomplishment. Not so in writing. When writing, it’s how much you get done; what you produce.
Part of becoming a writer for me is transitioning my mind-set to this different work style. Something I will no doubt continue to experiment with for some time to come to find the right fit for me.
How do you cope with your writing schedule? What has helped you to get more done? I’d love to know your secrets on this topic and any other lessons you’ve learned.