Scheduling Creative Writing

As I’m starting to gear up for NaNoWriMo season, I’m reminded of all the ways writing creatively is different from the revisions process.  Both take a lot of energy and fill me with excitement.  Between the two, I think that writing is harder but more rewarding.  It’s easy for me to get bogged down in the little details, write myself into a corner, and start feeling stuck.  Having to go back in the rough draft and delete progress is extremely discouraging for me.  I don’t know why it’s qualitatively different than deleting scenes from a finished manuscript (something I’ve done extensively without negative morale), but it just is.

This is why I’m an outliner and not a discovery writer.

But writing creatively is similar to the revisions process in one key way–scheduling is very important to me.  Organization is the base of my entire writing process.  When I’m organized, it’s easier for me to keep track of my progress and hold myself accountable.  My goal for the week is to make a schedule for the month of October.  I want to have target dates for when I’ll have my outline done, when I’ll have my research done, and when I’ll have setting and character descriptions entered into Scrivener.  I will also need to write four to six substantive updates and schedule them into my blog for my Monday post updates.  I love you guys and don’t want you to disappear while I’m bogged down in the process of actual writing, and I’ve been meaning to build my buffer back up again so that I’m not sitting here at 8 am on a Monday morning before work, trying to think up something substantive to write.

Off I go to think up themes for future Monday posts.

Deciding The Next Project

As most people who know me are aware. I’m a bit of an organization spaz. So of course, even though it’s only the middle of September, I’m already trying to plan what I’m going to prepare for NaNoWriMo next month.

This is harder than it sounds.

Option 1. I took a break on my work in progress, the Touchdown Novel, to revise and resubmit the Plague Novel. This means that I could go back to the Touchdown Novel and finish it, in which case almost all of my prep is done and I’ll just have to refresh myself on the outline and keep writing from the point of about 15k words in.

However, I remember writing myself into a hole. It may be challenging to pick it up where it is at. And the idea just has no sparkle to me right now. Do I really want to spend 2 months with it?

Option 2. I could start Plague Novel Two, The Sequel. This would require a lot more prep (because I have only the scantest of baby outlines), but the characters are fresh in my head and the ideas themselves have been percolating for over a year now. What I have not done is ANY of the setting research. It would mean a lot of work for October.

And if no one wants to represent the Plague Novel, it could also be a lot of work for “nothing.” But if someone does, then I’m already ahead of the curve and could maybe use the unfinished sequel as marketing to improve the chances that someone actually buys it.

Opotion 3. I could start a completely new project, maybe one of the novels in the Tattoo Magic setting that so far is only home to a couple of short stories. Again, it would be more prep work (even more than Plague Novel 2!), but I love the setting to death and am really excited to explore it more. While I have a setting and some story ideas, I have no characters, no research done, and not even a basic outline. It’s more risk, but possibly more reward.

I know I can write. I know I will write something this November. I know that I will probably write an entire novel by the end of December. The question is… which one? I have less than two weeks to decide.

Wish me luck.