Wednesday, 6 February 2008

What was I meant to be doing?

I've been trying to work out how I manage to write so little when I think about it so much. I'm supposed to be editing the first draft of my novel, yet 5 days seem to have passed since I last picked it up. Thinking about it and actually doing it seem very different things. It's something I enjoy doing yet I always put just about everything else first. Maybe it's my contrary desire to do anything but what I'm meant to be doing!

I did do better before Christmas when I had Lane's Finishers and the threat of her pointy stick to prod me along, but I'm not sure how. I don't have any kind of routine when it comes to writing. Since my writing time is confined to evenings and weekends it's always been somewhat haphazard. I have tried allocating evenings, or parts of evenings but it rarely seems to last. I've also set myself weekly word targets, numbered paper pages that I have to complete and set scene specific deadlines but these always seem to be short term measures. I think I need to get organised. But how?

Maybe short term goals are the answer. If I divide up that large pile of paper into sections for each week I have something to aim at. It's very easy to ignore the whole thing for days at a time. A chapter at a time would be a sensible division but I've yet to put any in! I'm determined to be more organised for the next one (hadn't really considered the next, there's always been only one!) and write a chapter at a time, in order and without using 20 different pukka pads. There's the contents of a small stationery shop scattered around the house and I live in fear of discovering another pad of paper with a plot line I'd forgotten about!

I know many people give themselves a reliable writing time by getting up an hour earlier. I just can't imagine doing it. I already get up at 6:30 to leave for work, any less sleep and I will be a true zombie. I will have to rely on the fear of not finishing to get it done and try and come up with new targets every couple of weeks. Even with my level of dedication I can usually manage to keep something up for a fortnight!


motherx said...

well I know its no help, but didnt stephen king in On Writing, say to put the manuscript aside for a few weeks before editing? Thought that might make you feel not so guilty...anyway I think it is brilliant that you have finished a novel. Perhaps you just need to recharge your batteries.

Lane said...

You're singing my song Denise!
It's very difficult to be disciplined when 1) there are no deadlines and 2) there are no guarantees of ever being published. (bah!)

I find chapters help. I couldn't do the rewrite without them so maybe you could try dividing your m/s up. At least then you're working in bite sized pieces.

Also Denise have you thought about joining the Novel Racers. There's a group of us doing the 'full rewrite' race. No pointy sticks but lots of encouragement:-)

I don't know whether it's full up but it's worth dropping Liz Fenwick (she's on my sidebar) an email. She's lovely and will let you know whether there's a space and if not put you on the waiting list.

Denise said...

Motherx - Yeah, I'm letting it rest, like bread. I like that idea! I fear guilt is the only thing that'll get it finished though...

Lane - I do like reading the Novel Racers blog, I think a few new people joined recently so I guess it's full again. Thanks for the idea, I might try and add myself to the waiting list.