Friday, April 30, 2010

Deadlines, Goals and Pressure, Oh My!

I'm the first to admit I haven't exactly been working very hard lately.  I've been reading a lot, mostly non-fiction books about writing.  In particular, seeing how much time other people invest in their writing made me think honestly about my own position.  I can't physically work non-stop for hours without falling asleep or whatever right now.  Time is ticking on though.  I need to get a move on.

I got a fright the other day because I realised my next baby is due in ten weeks.  I've never gone full term so realistically I have eight weeks at most to get some real work done and that isn't even taking into consideration how uncomfortable it is for me to type right now and how that is going to get progressively worse as time passes on.  I'm running out of time.  How much can I even accomplish in 6 to 10 weeks anyway?

Going on past performance, if I get stuck in, I can finish a first draft in two weeks.  I've done it a couple of times now and it's the easiest part of the whole process.  Turning that first draft into something worthwhile is another thing but word count wise, I can get a lot done.  If I feel like it.  Therein lies the problem, I need goals and deadlines and pressure to get moving properly.  Going at a leisurely pace is probably not the best idea for me.  Especially when I'll be forced to slow down soon enough.

But until that happens, I have some time and I need some plans.  Ideally, I'd like to have a first draft of a novel finished.  It's started, it's plotted, but it still needs to be written down in detail.  I'd like to plan an outline of some sort for another novel.  I'm not too pushed on how detailed this has to be because I work out things in my head when I'm doing anything else so theoretically this shouldn't be too hard.  I'd like to get some real editing work done on another WIP.  That's my priority and that's the one which is most difficult to do because I don't have the time to distance myself from it.  I have other finished drafts that need an edit but this one is at the forefront of my mind no matter what I do therefore it gets priority.

I'm going to try and keep some sort of record of progress on my blog for myself.  I need the reminders and I need the pressure.  Publicising the things I haven't done seems to work quite well so I'm going to give it a go.  I'm hopeful I'll get a lot of work done in the next two months because the longer I stop, the harder it will be to get going again.  And the more work I get done now, the more I'll be able to read over when I can't write.  I don't know how long it will take for me to get back into writing on a daily basis after the baby is born but I plan on doing Nanowrimo this year again so I'll be back on form by then at the very latest.
The thing about setting goals and deadlines for myself is that everything can change.  I was supposed to go to college this year but it ended up being unworkable so I changed my goals for the year.  And now here I am changing them again.  I have a long term plan.  It's not exactly detailed but I only have a certain amount of time left at home.  When all of the children are in school then I'll have to go out to work.  Unless of course I pull off some success doing other things, like writing.  I'm more than realistic about the chances of me having to go outside the home to work.  But that doesn't stop me aiming for my goals.  In fact, it makes me even more determined to give it a good effort.

I'll probably be 30 when I have to make a choice.  It won't be solely my choice either.  But hopefully by then my choice will actually be a choice.  I hope I'll have options.  If I work hard then I'll have plenty of finished drafts/manuscripts to work with.  And I'll probably have a better idea of where I stand on the whole indie publishing side of things.  Ideally, I'll have the strength to make the right choice for me.  If I go back to work, writing will have to be a hobby - at least for a while.  Fecking hate that word.  That is what I'm dreading.  But it wouldn't be fair on me to keep indulging myself if my family are losing out.  They lose out everytime I'm preoccupied with developing a character or trying to figure a way out of a conflict I've created.  I've always known in the back of my mind that one day I'll have to choose between family or writing, my two greatest loves.  It's better for me to write, it's better for them if I have the sort of job I can leave behind at the end of the working day.  But until I have to pick, I'm going to enjoy both, give myself deadlines, put on a bit of pressure and aim for my goals.

Short term goals: 

  1. Get a new first draft finished.
  2. Plan a full outline for new novel.
  3. Edit full manuscript to a more polished level.
Long term goals:

  1. Get a lot more writing experience under my belt.
  2. Get a lot more indie publishing experience.
  3. Make a fully informed decision on a career path.

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