You may recall from the last update on my work in progress that I decided to re-write everything from scratch because I wasn’t happy with the opening chapter. Since then, though I’m much happier about the state of my WIP, I am much less happy about the slow progress of my writing throughout September. While most of the problems that prevented me from getting as much done as I would have liked were (as usual) out of my control, I fully accept that there is one issue that is in my power to affect: Time management.
Unfortunately, I’ve never been good at utilising my time well, and this is entirely the by-product of one of my worst character traits; I am a habitual procrastinator. If something can be put off until tomorrow, I can be relied upon to put it off until next month (or later). But I’ve reached the point in my journey as a writer where I know this is no longer acceptable. If I’m going to make a success of being an independent author I need to be more professional about everything, especially my work ethic. Though it’s the case I am much more productive when I’m actually in the mood to write, far too often I’ve allowed those time when I’m not in the mood be an excuse to not do anything.
My casual attitude about when I get things done is a matter I now realise needs to be addressed. With the start of a new month I’ve decided to implement some rigid structure to my days by setting aside a six hour period each weekday to write, rather than just writing whenever the mood takes me. In addition I will henceforth set myself minimum daily word count goals to achieve, and set deadlines for completing the various stages of my work in progress.
As a bare minimum, I want to be writing a thousand words a day (though I will be trying my best to do a lot more than that). In terms of deadlines for the three drafts I will produce before getting feedback from my beta readers: I want to finish the behind schedule first draft by the end of November; the second draft should be finished by the end of December; the third draft should be completed by the end of January. My beta readers will receive the unedited third draft at the start of February and will have three weeks to read it and provide feedback. The last week of February will be reserved for addressing issues (if any) raised by the beta readers. By the end of March (at the latest) I want to secure the services of a developmental & line editor to turn the manuscript into the best final draft it can be. I don’t particularly care how long the editing stage drags on for; I don’t have a specific publication date in mind for book 2 so getting it edited can take as long as is necessary.
I have no doubt that my determination to stick to this endeavour will be sorely tested in various ways. On the one hand, I suspect adhering to a rigid writing schedule in order to meet goals and deadlines is easier for people who have stability in their lives, and stable is a word that cannot be used to describe my life over the last ten years. On the other, my life is very predictable in that I can guarantee there will be situations and people constantly trying to thwart me―which was the case while I was writing The Exercise Of Vital Powers, and this seems to be how things are shaping up as I’m writing the sequel. But there is one crucial difference this time around which has increased my commitment: I’m no longer a completely unknown, first time author; there is now a small number of people waiting for me to produce a follow up to my debut novel. Whether you call them fans or sympathetic supporters, I now have a reason to manage my time more effectively.
Thanks for reading,