Author’s Log: Cleanup On Aisle 2013 (& #ROW80)

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It’s a fresh new year, and thus a fresh new round of A Round of Words in Eighty Days (aka ROW80)! I now give you, without further ado, The Stating Of the Goals:

Draft 1,000 Words/Day to keep the voices at bay. Every word I write over 1,000 will go into a Word Pool, and every word I lose below 1,000 will come of out the pool. When I have at least 1,000 words in my pool, I get a day off from drafting.

Finish Drafting Big Dang Projeckt by Jan 31. I’m reeeeeeeeally close on this one, so much so I can almost taste it. I’m ramping up for the big naval battle at the climax, which means I’m in the home stretch. If I keep up with my first goal, I should easily make it. Woo-hoo!

Finish a BETA-level Draft of Keepers #4. How this is going to be accomplished:

  • Jan: Research & Development. This means character work, location scouts and research, plotting, and key scene work. This will largely take place in an Official Author’s Notebook ™ of the Spiral Variety. All this scribble-scrabble should eventually result in what is mostly a rough draft that just needs to be pieced together, Beautiful-Mind style.
  • Feb: Drafting. This is when I’ll move from notebook to computer and begin drafting my “second”, or meditation, draft. This is usually when things I never considered, world-building or character or plot-wise, pop up like weasels in a writing box.
  • Mar: Revisions. This will be my deepened, polished, now-get-it-out-of-my-face draft, which I will then send to BETA readers. It will when be in a “cooling off” period until my notes come back and it’s due for a final polish.

My biggest goal this year, besides getting The Minstrel’s Daughter (aka “Big Dang Projeckt”) into the query pool, is to be a more prolific writer. I have this goal every year. It never quite works out how I planned, largely because I start out strong and end up burning out.

So I’ve tweaked the process behind my Production Schedule somewhat, so that I am (a) never drafting more than one thing at a time, and (b) am given the chance to refill my energy pool, i.e. pacing myself. This will also mean I’m not rushing so submit things before they’re ready, just because of a self-imposed deadline I’m pushing to meet.

What I’ve done is arranged things in one of three quarterly “cycles”, so I’m drafting for two months and taking a month off. This does NOT mean I won’t be working on my writing during those months. These will be revision and development months, and if I’m drafting anything it will most likely either be something I’m self-publishing and offering for free (like my Origins series), or flash fiction, or I’m spending time doing chapter critiques on the Online Writing Workshop, which I really would love more time to do.

It’s like farming, I guess—two fields going, one resting. In this way I can become a better, more prolific writer without burning out (or so I dearly hope). I’ve also added dedicated submission months for my novellas (Jan, Apr, Jul, and Oct) to give myself room to work, but also so that I’m submitting a manuscript every three months—but not submitting a “current” manuscript, rather, one that was developed and drafted and rested and polished over a period of approximately six months instead of the three I’ve been shooting for and missing.

I managed to get a tentative project list/submission schedule in place spanning through 2016, so I should be able to get a respectable body of work out by then. It August of 2016, I will be 40 (yikes! o.O), and it is my overall goal to be writing full time during that year, which means queuing up a portfolio of paying work by then. By then I should have enough series in play and novels in the submission pool to make a go of it.

I have a plan. I have measurable, reachable goals to see it through. Now I just need to buckle down, but not overdo it. Discipline AND Balance, that’s my motto for 2014. 😀

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6 thoughts on “Author’s Log: Cleanup On Aisle 2013 (& #ROW80)

  1. Kathy says:

    I like the farming metaphor! That’s kind of what i’m doing with some of my ideas — focusing on one but keeping the others in reserve for when I hit a block or need a change of pace from the main idea. I’m hoping that working on multiple ideas will ultimately help me to become more flexible and, hopefully, more prolific and ultimately ease some of my fears about being too slow-moving to be a writer. Good luck with the buckling down!

    1. catemorgan says:

      Hi, Kathy! It’s great to balance multiple projects to keep your enthuasiasm for them fresh–the trick lies in finishing them, so you don’t end up with trunk full of half-finished darlings. Good luck this week, and with your 2014 goals!

  2. nancyrae4 says:

    I love the farming metaphor as well. I’ve always tried to concentrate specifically on one writing project at a time and sometimes a plot, no matter how intriguing, becomes overwhelming. Thanks for the inspiration!

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