On time management and self-discipline

Has it come to this? Why of course! And we always knew it would, one day.

Joking aside, I was reading Sally Stuart’s Guide to Publishing a few days ago and became motivated to make some changes. It happened because I recognized who I am as a writer and what I want to accomplish. In her book she outlines types of writers as those who:

  • are totally committed to writing and would have to write no matter what (even if never published)
  • work at a full-time job while writing (always their first love) is on the side
  • write because they believe it will provide wealth or fame
  • write a lot and get excited about several projects at once, but seldom finish anything
  • spend their life (or at least their writing life) writing one story or experience
  • are obsessed with a single idea that is written and rewritten
  • write, submit, and sell, year in and year out (p. 130)

I know writers in most of these categories. I asked myself which one best described me and realized in that moment what I wanted. The category you or I find ourselves in does not have to be our destiny.

So, I am making some decisions. As she suggests, I am making time to write. I am informing friends and family of when I will and will not be available. I am setting goals, breaking them down into manageable pieces and making use of my calendar and to-do list. I am identifying time wasters and setting boundaries around my quality working time.

Knowing who you are and exactly what it is you want can be extremely motivating. In the next few weeks this blog will reflect some of the changes I will be making. Happy writing!

Editing – it’s happening

I just had to share that I started editing my novel yesterday and it went well. I rounded out a scene. I did some research. I read up on plot versus character and I mapped out my plot on a large sheet of sketching paper.

Mapping out my plot was very revealing. I saw that a lot of things happened to my main character, but she was not really defined by what she did. I saw that I had left two characters dangling. I saw that my story is a story with a lot of medium-sized peaks and that I need at least one large peak. I also saw the possibility that one of my dangling characters could do this for me.

I read a bestseller recently in which the main character re-made herself. It was a good read. But what set her on this path was a bad experience with a man in her life. Throughout the story I kept thinking how satisfying it would be for her to meet up with this man as a changed woman. But it never happened. This made me think that when we get our audience to bond with someone early in the story, even if it is a villain, it  would probably be good not to drop that character.

Every character has to have a purpose and needs to further the plot in some way. I think it’s best to have as few characters as possible. My story has a lot of characters because the setting requires it, but I will take another look and see if anyone is dispensable.