17 September 2012

Losing Your Way

How long to write a book - A couple of months ago I had a look through my word count stats for Driftwood and Lives Interrupted, and thought back to when I wrote them. What made the difference between the parts that hung around for ages, and the parts that flowed?

A plan and some goals, not to mention a deadline. However, I'm sure the deadline wouldn't have been met without the plan and goals.

I looked at my stats because I've had a partially written first draft of another novel hanging around for a couple of years. To be honest I'd lost my way. I knew the destination, but not how to get there, and I thought the idea was good to keep going rather than file away. 

I had a limited amount of time to work on it before a new work project started, and I was determined to finish this first draft.

So a plan and some goals were needed.

My first problem was the block of what happens in the second half. My daughter read what I had so far and then we brainstormed. She came up with ideas that were way more leftfield than I'd come up with. Things that didn't work for what I knew of the characters, BUT the important thing with brainstorming is not to reject ideas without looking closely at them. I reined in some of those ideas, just a little, and in taking them in different directions I had my breakthrough. Still not a complete journey, but I was on my way.

Step two of the plan involved outlining those ideas, and moving around what I already had to slot in the new scenes, and in doing that more ideas came. Phew!

The next part was familiar - a mixture of new writing, rewriting, and the delete key on parts that just didn't stack up or pull their weight.

I now have a draft and a plot that runs through from A-Z. A skeleton with meat on some of the bones.

When I find myself procrastinating over things it's usually because I don't have a plan and goals. I also find a deadline helps as well, even if it has to be self-imposed sometimes.

Writing is, and should be, a pleasure. Something I enjoy and look forward to. However, it becomes something entirely different when I don't see progress. If that's how you feel about it, then look at what your goal is and set some realistic stepping stones to reaching it. And this isn't just for writing either, it works for anything you want to achieve.

I think how I feel when I've been putting off a job I dislike and how it hangs over me, and then how good I feel once I've completed the it. 

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