A Writing Journey

Posts tagged ‘deadlines’

Series Coming: A Slightly Comedic Guide to NaNo Prep

I tried NaNoWriMo last year. I got about two pages in and I quit. I believe this was due, in large part, to being unprepared. For that reason, I’m going to do more prep work this year – because I’m taking another shot at NaNo*.

Coming up in October, I will be posting a series of things to do to prepare. Some of them are obvious, some serious, and some just silly. That’s why the “slightly comedic.” They won’t be posted in any sort of specific order, except that the things you might need more time for I’m going to post towards the beginning of October.

Hope to see you preparing as well!

*No, I have never completed NaNo, and only tried it once. You may remember, deadlines terrify me.

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Deadlines are Bad Lines.

In the wake of yesterday’s post (in which I mentioned that Summer is usually a great time of writing for me) I have hit a minor wall. I can’t say exactly what it is, but I think I know the why. I have set myself a deadline for finishing this draft. WHY OH WHY DID I DO THAT? I knew better.

To try and break down the wall, I contacted a writer friend of mine, just to chat and see how he is doing and hopefully kick myself into gear. It sort of worked. I’ve been typing up some handwritten pages (how all my drafts start) and even realized that there are significant scenes (chapters….) missing from the middle of this tale. I have on a post-it what I will need to add. This will probably push back my goal date, but that is OKAY WITH ME. I’m not even going to set myself a new date, because look what it did to me. 😦

Oh well. Tomorrow is a new day and today wasn’t a total loss.

Hang in there!

Friday Inspiration – Finishing a Rewrite

I set out, at the beginning of this month, to write a chapter a day and finish my fifth draft of “Quest for Salvation” by July 30th.

I’ll tell you the bad news first. I didn’t write a chapter a day. I was sick for a little under a week, and I choose not to write when I am sick. I learned during my freshman year of college that when I am sick, my writing becomes an incoherent blob of crazy (and yet I still managed to salvage that paper on Julius Caesar). At that point, I was ready to give up. I thought: I’ll never finish now, there can’t possible be enough days left in the month to get this done! (Yeah, I only have nineteen chapters so I think my math skills suffer when I’m sick too…)

But here’s the good news: I finished. On Monday I sat down and said: write, you fool! You have a week left! And I wrote. Oh yeah, I had to go to work and spend time with my family, but I got past the hardest part of my rewrite and I kept going. On Tuesday, I got up, ate some breakfast, and powered through the rest of the novel. (Admittedly, my rewrite cut about three chapters and I didn’t have to change much in the last five, so I had it pretty easy.)

I don’t know how inspiring this really is, but I just want to say: You can do it. It might be hard, you might be sick, but you can still do it. You can make that deadline, self-imposed or not. You just have to buckle down and get it done.

This is a skill I learned during college. I had lots of writing deadlines (you know, all those papers I was writing when I was sick?) and so I learned to do it. Sure, I stressed out over every single one, but they were all finished. I never turned anything in late.

When I was in high school and didn’t have a strict writing schedule, I always thought that the thing holding me back from putting my whole heart into becoming a writer was that I couldn’t “write on command.” In other words, the deadlines scared me. Now, I say bring it on.

After I visit family at the beginning of August, I’m going to start sending out my queries and chapters. Wish me luck!

Take care, fellow travelers. And keep writing.

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