Monday, August 19, 2013

Accountability Week 3

I'm beginning to dread these #writemotivation posts. No, no epic fail like last week this time--I actually got quite a bit of writing time in. More than the allotted 4 hours a day most days.

But little to show for it.

So I'm celebrating--I stuck to the schedule (sort of), got into the discipline of sitting my meager butt down in front of the keyboard and starting. But I'm also moping, because in spite of this schedule and this discipline, both of which cost me a psychological arm and a leg, progress is slow.

Not for Project #2--for that one it's not slow, it's at a standstill. And Project #1 is to blame. Editing that novel is eating up all the writing time I carve out--and then some.

I took one of WD's tutorials this week, First Draft Outline. The presenter, author Karin S. Wiesner (First Draft in 30 Days), says something at the beginning to the effect of, "Once a writer has hundreds upon hundreds of pages of a first draft [...] he starts on the hard part: [...] the tortuous work of untangling, revising, and polishing a story that may or may not be strong enough or even salvageable."

Oh, man.

The intro to the tutorial says something like this:

"Many novelists churn out hundreds of pages (and waste valuable time) before they have a workable first draft."

Oh, laws. Ms. Wiesner has been spying on me.

If you've been a follower of this blog for a while, you probably know I'm a pantster. Thus, I do not outline. And I pay the price--namely, these hundreds upon hundreds of pages, thousands upon thousands of words, hours upon hours of time wasted trying, like an archaeologist (Ms. Wiesner's analogy) digging for Roman plunder in Siberia.

I'm not saying pantsterism is wrong. Whatever virtues outlining has, I'm afraid my creative personality is too undisciplined to ever become methodical. What I am saying is that creating an outline in the way Ms. Wiesner proposes does provide much-needed focus to a scatterbrain like me.

And so I spent a good chunk of this week's writing time refining that outline I'd started a couple months back. And I feel good about that. I feel focused. More focus means more motivation, doesn't it?

The novel's main challenges for me right now are two. First, the plot basics. With the outline I found several inconsistencies, and--thankfully--that means I can cut out several scenes and synthesize others. Second, the writing itself. Beyond adverbs and passive constructions, repetitive descriptions and avoiding talking heads, there's Toni Morrison's fabulous words.

So here's to next week's productivity.

For Project #1, at two scenes per day (Ms. Wiesner also gave some outstanding tips for goal setting), this coming week I will finish editing Part I (13 more scenes).

For Project #2, I'm going to split the original goal: this week I will finish the final draft for the March story, and next week I'll work on the first drafts for April and May. Am I letting myself off the hook too easily?


  1. Those are great goals, Guilie. I have that book, too, but my pantser self works better without it.

    I wrote a whole first draft for a year, now am rewriting all of it-- I guess writing literary rather than genre, I can't seem to figure out scenes well in advance.

    In the second draft I can see the way ahead much clearer.

    Good on you for working on 2 projects at once-- I could never do it!

  2. Yikes--you so convict! I've been "waiting till the kids go back to school" to edit....and that is on the 27th. Time to clear my schedule, eh?

    Thanks for the kick in the pants. :)


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