And, at last…a break!
I’ve been pushing myself pretty hard today so far, since I haven’t worked on the novel for over a week. Yesterday completely morphed into one of those “I miss blogging!” – “I miss running!” – “I miss cooking!” sort of days, and, well, I did everything but work on my book.
Luckily, getting back into the groove has not been too hard. I left off in a good spot, mid-sentence, like we’ve been talking about on one of Jennifer’s posts. That made things a little easier, especially since it was a somewhat emotionally charged scene.
I discovered another little trick today that helped me get back into the story. It hit me – why not read it out loud, record it, and listen to it? I did just that with my current chapter; it was neat to hear the book instead of looking at it. After listening to it, I felt I could jump right back in to the moods and thoughts of my various characters. Plus, it helped me to notice what sounded weird and what sounded pretty good, without seeing my painstakingly familiar words on the screen.
Kind of a change of subject here, but it still has to do with being productive after my vacation:
Before we left for Puerto Rico, I decided to deal with one of the questions I keep getting asked from every direction – “When do you think you’ll be done?” (For my more elaborate ramblings on such questions, see This Post.)
My husband asked me this (with trepidation) because his co-workers keep asking him. I thought about it, and rather than getting all annoyed, I figured I should perhaps come up with an actual answer. I mean, I’d rather have everyone be fine with, “How can I possibly know? I’ll be done when I’m done, and I just plan to keep working hard until then.” But, not everyone is. Besides, I was a little curious, myself – when should I expect to be done?
Perhaps it is realistic to say, “I’ll be done when I’m done,” but perhaps it’s just a lazy excuse to avoid a schedule. I don’t know. What I do know is that there may come a day when I’m expected to write – and edit – on a much tighter schedule than now. What good will it be to me in those days, if I can only write on my time, and not push myself to get things done?
So, I created a schedule. I don’t know if it’s realistic; I do know it’s ambitious. I don’t want to sacrifice quality, so we’ll see how well I actually stick to my plan.
I pretty much took my current rate of churning out chapters (more oozing than churning, but whatever) and doubled my weekly expectations of myself. I set a schedule for when I hope to finish this draft, then allotted time for every other step I could think of between now and sending it out to agents. I figure, even if I totally take twice as long as I’ve given myself, at least I’ll know what to expect in future projects, right?
This method is working well, so far. I set my little timer for an hour at a time, focus really hard, then take a break at the end of the hour. I’m seeing much more fruit on the page than with my previous “work for a few hours at a time” method, in which I had the tendency to succumb to various distractions (you know, blog-reading, latte-making/drinking, petting Remy the Cat). This way, I am accountable to focus for a fixed amount of time, then enjoy frequent rewards when I’m done.
Writing this blog was one of those rewards. Now – off to do one more session today, then to the gym I’ll go!
I haven’t asked a question in a while, so here’s one: Do you have a big-picture schedule on your current project, or do you work better taking it one section at a time? Any thoughts or ideas on how best to schedule projects like these? I’d love to read what works well for you!