When I feel that I am in a writing slump, I tend to analyse what it is that is getting me down and then formulate a new approach to reinvigorate my routine. Recently I feel that I have been getting nowhere, that I have nothing to show for my efforts and that I might just be wasting my time.
However, when I dug really deep what I discovered was that I am unhappy with my own motivation and progress. I wasn’t where I wanted to be at this stage of the year. At the beginning of 2013 I wanted to apply myself to a set of goals and while I can proudly say I have achieved most of these, even though we’re only half way through the year, I feel I am far behind on one particular one: ‘Preparing NaNo #1 for beta readers’.
Now, I plan to take part in NaNoWriMo again this year – which will rule out November for any other activity. By the time December comes around I am in no doubt I will need a rest, and the build up to Christmas will take up much of my time. Therefore, I’ve realised that my self-imposed deadline for having NaNo #1 edited and ready for beta readers will need to be set at October 31st.
Doing a little mathematics (not my strong suit) based on the number of words to edit remaining in my original draft of NaNo #1 (78,000) in addition to the rough estimate of the words I have written out in long-hand for Cecelia’s Story (12,000) and the amount of weeks left before the end of October I will need to edit approximately 5,000 words each week to finish on time.
Now, that doesn’t appear to be a difficult goal. But I also need to factor in the typing up of Cecelia’s story. According to my (again, possibly inaccurate) workings out, on the basis of editing 5,000 words per week I will reach the section where Cecelia’s Story must be inserted in roughly 4.5 weeks (around the 23rd July). It’s unlikely I will have written it all up by that time, but I can provide a conservative estimate of having it complete by August based on typing up 2,000 words per week.
This should mean that as I am beginning to edit Cecelia’s Story, I will be typing up the last third of it at the same time. At least this will ensure that it gets done: and I am conservatively editing as I type it up, so hopefully this section of editing may take less time than some others.
Therefore, this provides me with a list of new goals for the upcoming weeks:
Edit approximately 5,000 words of NaNo #1
Type up around 2,000 words of Cecelia’s Story
Spend at least 2hrs free-writing for competitions, groups or magazine entries
Keep writing three blog posts a week
Read a minimum of one novel a month
I’m going to use Writertopia to keep up to date with my progress on both my edit for NaNo #1 and the typing up of Cecelia’s Story, to keep me on target and to ensure that I make my milestones.
So the Edit of NaNo #1 is thus far:
While the typing up of Cecelia’s Story currently stands at:
I’ll update weekly, as I tend to do for my To-do lists and see how I get on. I am hopeful that this very focused approach will help me to identify the progress I’m making and also encourage me to feel that I am contributing enough to my writing each week to not feel guilty when I take some time off.
And, to state for the record, my milestones are:
NaNo #1 Edits:
– 30th June: 24,500 words
– 31st July: 45,000 words
– 31st August: 69,000 words
– 28th September: 89,000 words
– 26th October: COMPLETE
Typing up Cecelia’s Story:
– 30th June: 4,500 words typed
– 31st July: COMPLETE