Monday, January 4, 2010

Deadlines and expectations

I have impressed myself with my ability to get my second novel edited over the holidays. I shouldn't be, as I know myself and how obsessed I become when I'm in the midst of a project (plus how exhilarated I get when writing).

In a discussion last week with novelist Molly Cochran she mentioned the importance of writing everyday. When you don't write everyday, she said, you lose track of where you are and where you are going.

Oh, yeah, I agree with that. On the same token, I don't believe a writer has to write everyday, but a serious writer should. Treat it like a job. An amateur writer who wishes to improve himself/herself must follow this advice, because it takes a certain amount of focus and craft to work on a project without continuity.

I know. I know because I am a mom, a college student, a community volunteer and an employee of a local non-profit. I started these revisions over the summer and submitted them to my critique group. In early December, right before finals, I ditched the first chapter and wrote a new one. I started changes to chapter two.

After Christmas, I thought I could finish them one evening. More than three weeks had passed, and when I opened the chapter, I had no idea where I was or where I was going. I spent the entire evening reading my most recent revisions. And then I realized I didn't like the new chapter two, so I started outlining another chapter two.

Now, over the last four or so days I have fixed that chapter, cleaned up and added some stuff to chapter three and edited chapter four. But most of that success is because I have been working on it every day. Yes, inconsistently for an hour or two here or there as my family life allows.

But every day.

And it makes a huge difference in the quality.

This brings me to my blog. In talking to other writers, most are setting goals to update their blogs weekly or twice a week. I guess I'm a little nuts for doing this daily. In order to give myself some breathing room, I'm going to post entries on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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