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Monday, September 1, 2014

5 Means to an End!

It has been quite some time since I posted to my own blog page about the vicissitudes (and pleasures) of the writing life.

This is probably because LIFE has been rather overwhelming and I now find myself with a bad dose of “Be Careful What You Wish For”…

My writing to date has been done to my own schedule... a bit of writing punctuated by procrastination on many fronts but suddenly I find myself with two very different projects on hand - one a result of asking and the other result of pitching - and I can’t tell you much about either of them except...
·                An agent request to see the Singapore set cosy mystery (I've mentioned it before). In fact I also had a very keen publisher request for the same book… (the pitch)
·                A contracted book (with my very first contractual deadline) that has to be researched, written and submitted by the end of April 2015. (The thing I asked for...I am so excited about this project I could burst but I have to sit on my hands a bit longer!)

So here I am poised on the brink of something that may or may not be exciting… (I love this business) and I am in panic. 

However panic is a great motivator. My historical stories take a long time to write, massage, tweak, smooth and in fact I have come to the conclusion they are never ever really finished.

So this is it, folks, time to take this gig SERIOUSLY.

Firstly my goals:
1. Finish this draft of Harriet (the Singapore story) by the end of September and submit to agent.
2. Rough draft of Exiles’ Return (working title) by end of November. (I’ve done Nanowrimo so I know this is possible). This gives me 5 months for the rewrite and 2 revisions... I can do this!

Here are the 5 things I am doing to meet my goals.
1. Set project targets in Scrivener (Have I mentioned how much I love that program?). By setting a daily target the total word count suddenly seems achievable. Viewing the work in small bite size chunks rather than a huge table!
2. Print off a calendar for October 14 to May 15 and cross of all “red flag days” - work days, Christmas, Weddings (yes I have two weddings - both my sons are getting married within 6 months of each other.
3. Joined a “Work In Progress” Sprint Group on Facebook. I’ve done sprints on Twitter but this is so much better and I have to say it is brilliant - it has really upped the output. I have also joined a group run by Cherry Adair which requires a weekly check in on progress.
4. Revisited my external priorities (blogging being one and a couple of committees I sit on). Yes, there are commitments I am going to be giving up. Why? Because this is really, really important to me… this is what I have dreamed of since I was a little girl sitting in a willow tree scribbling stories in a shorthand notebook. This is MY dream.
5. Given in to pride and enlisted the help of my currently “differently employed” spouse. He is my harshest critic and a savage beast with a red pen. As I edit chapters of Harriet I am printing them off and giving them to him. The steadily growing pile of paper by my desk covered in red ink will be draft #4. Then and only then will it be ready to be submitted.

BUT there are a couple of things in my life which are important - exercise and needlework. These will be scheduled into the calendar.

And it is not to say that procrastination won’t take over… but finally after all these years, the dream is becoming a reality. 

Thanks, Benedict... a deep breath and a stiff gin!

Of course I am always open to further suggestions...