Finding the Words

a blog devoted to the art, craft, and frustration of writing

A day in the life July 10, 2007

Filed under: writing — itsy @ 3:42 pm

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to manage my day. Have not yet managed to come up with a formula. Right now, it’s woefully procrastination heavy. That, and writing new material. The editorial process is what bogs me down. But, of course, that’s exactly the process that will more likely let me get published, unless, of course, I can get it perfect the first time!

So, here’s what I’m thinking. Once a week I think I need to sit down and drum up new ideas for stories, articles, books, characters, whatever. By brainstorming for just half an hour, I can come up with a pretty decent list of material to work on.

To limit idea generation like this is somewhat artificial, since in reality I’m constantly coming up with ideas and jotting them down on little scraps of paper. Which leads me on to the next thing–processing material. I need to collect, record, and clarify all the stuff I jot down on the backs of receipts and jam into my wallet. Probably rewriting the notes, or taping the papers, into some centralized notebook would be a good idea. Maybe once every other week, or once a month, I should go through these and pick out the ones that could be developed into stories, novels, articles, are just have no hope whatsoever.

Okay, further processing. Filling out character sheets and world building sheets once I’ve decided to pursue an idea. I think I should try to do these as quickly as possible, in order to maintain a certain inertia and keep the characters consistent. A few hours a day would probably be good to devote to this.

And now for the writing of drafts. In general, writing the first draft quickly is key for me. Get it down, get it out and done with. I get the feeling once I decide to initiate the draft writing, I should devote as much time as possible. Perhaps only writing just the draft for a period of a few weeks (or a day or two, if it’s a short story). This is the part I love–it’s like a high.

Rewriting… okay, this is what stymies me. I could probably spend forever rewriting, only because I lack focus. I sincerely believe focus is the key to accomplishment. And so, I think once I have a first draft completed, I need more, measured time to devote to a second draft. If I’m in a writing group some the scheduling is already enforced. Otherwise, I think the bulk of my time, assuming I’m not working on a first draft or characters sheets, should be devoted to this. For later drafts, I can devote maybe a few hours a week on a give project.

Critiques–I recently joined an on-line critiquing group called Critters. It’s been fun so far, though I haven’t yet submitted anything, so I don’t know what the quality of responses are. But I do think you learn every time you critique, and so I’ve decided to commit to spending some time a week critiquing. Perhaps an hour a week for Critters, another hour for my writing workshop.

And finally, the business of writing. I want to be published, so I know I need to devote regular time to preparing things for submission, submitting, writing query letters, intiating that whole process. So I think an hour a week, for now (since I don’t actually have anything ready to submit) will be sufficient.

Hm… there is a natural rhythm in here somewhere, I just haven’t quite put my finger on it. I almost need something like a school class schedule, with blocks of time that I can allocate to different tasks, depending on where I am in a given piece.

Did I forget anything? Oh right, sleeping, eating, and life.

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