Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Time Management Tuesday: What Can You Do With A Month?

This is National Novel Writing Month, which I'm not taking part in this year, though I did back in 2004 when I said...wait for it...wait for it..." I see this as an opportunity to force me to structure my time better." (I'm telling you, the time thing has always hung over my head.) However, I did just finish a month-long writing unit with the May Day folks. I didn't finish a novel during that time, though we don't try to in that group. We try to use these month long "set asides," as I sometimes call them, to generate some work or do something specific.

The Original Plan

As I'm sure you all recall, I planned to do four things:
  1. Sprint at least five days a week
  2. Generate two pages of material as many days of the week as possible
  3. Allow the two pages of new material to include new scene planning, if need be
  4. Learn to do what I'm going to call skim writing, meaning I'm going to try not to stop to get obsessive about perfecting factual bits, names, etc. I want to leave ______ or bold placeholders, which I hope will help me move ahead generating material that will provide the solutions for those blank spaces and placeholders that I can then go back and correct. I get bogged down much, much too often with those types of things for my taste.
That may have been too many objectives for a one-month writing goal, but I did pretty well with the first two, and made an effort, at least, with the third and fourth ones.

The Best Results

  1. Sprinting, or doing a quick, intense writing session, has been great, and I'm hoping it is becoming part of my writing process. I've been doing a twenty minute sprint in the midst of my workout period because I've been walking outside for a half an hour after whatever else I do in the morning. The sprint comes before the walk, and walking after the sprint can often lead to breakout experiences related to the work done during the sprint. Just this morning, for example, I realized while out in the street that I needed to change the house one of my main characters lives in in order to make it do more to define him.
  2. I started a new book, which I haven't done in a year or so. I'm three and a half chapters in as a result of the October set aside, and didn't get further, even though I'd started before October, because a lot of my new work involved rewriting chapters one and two.

What Next?

 I can't continue working on this project several hours a day because I'm preparing to attend a master class retreat in less than two weeks, and that involves another, completed novel that I need to bring myself back up to speed on. But part of what you gain from working intently on a writing project, as we did last month, is the involvement with the world of the book. That's particularly important for organic writers like myself who don't have a plot outline to anchor us and bring us back to that world, if we've been away. Even with an overall, big picture idea of what's going to happen, a lot of our plot evolves as we're working, as we're deeply into the project. Walk away and when you come back you'll find yourself having to make a big effort to figure out where you were going with this thing.

What I'm trying to do to prevent that is continue with those sprints. I'm doing what I call "mummy sprints" (the book was originally about a mummy; not so much now) as many days of the week as I can. No, I'm not suggesting I'm going to write a book in twenty minutes a day, though I imagine a person far more patient than I am could. What I'm hoping to do is to stay in this project mentally so that when I can get back to it, maybe at the end of this month, I can simply continue working.

And, yes, I should have finished chapter four by then.

Regarding NaNoWriMo

Speaking of NaNoWriMo, as I was in my first sentence, oddly enough, I got some ideas just this past Saturday for my 2004 NaNoWriMo project, which I've barely touched since then. I'm trying to get some notes down on that.

And Facebook Friend Kimberly Sabatini is doing NaNoWriMo this year and has shared a little news of how she's doing. I'm hoping to hear more about how she's using this time.


No comments: