Wednesday, October 5, 2016

IWSG: This Month's Work.

This isn't the first entry that stems from the Writing Excuses workshop, and it won't be the last.  It is, however, the first time I've made one IWSG entry start the same way as the previous one.

Anyway.  At the workshop, Brandon Sanderson held Q&As at night after dinner, sitting down in the workshop's room and answering whatever people wanted to ask about writing.  (Yes, I'm totally name-dropping Brandon Sanderson, because I can.)  As an extremely prolific writer, he got some questions about how he manages to produce so much.  His answer, as I remember it, was simple: he gives himself a deadline for when he's going to start something, then starts it on that day.

It's one of those little things that makes so much sense and yet seems too simple to actually work.

So, since it clearly is working for him, I tried to see how I could apply this to my own work.  I don't want to give myself deadlines, as that's just a recipe for stressing out and feeling like I've failed.  (I do enough of both of those already, thanks.)  So I thought about what the self-imposed deadline does, and quickly understood:

The deadline creates a time when you say, "I'm going to work on this book now," and forces you to do that.  And I figured out how to make that work for me when I'm plotting.

I have a great, great many book ideas; anyone who's been reading this blog for a while probably knows this.  A major problem I have with getting plot work done is figuring out what I want to work on.  Too often, I fumble around in several plots-in-progress, and don't get any real work done.  So it's time to change that process.

For the month of October, I'm going to work on one specific plot, abbreviated as T3F.  (No, I'm not saying what it stands for, but if you guess it, I'll give you a cameo if I ever write the book.)  This will be the only plot I work on this month, aside from taking down notes on other stuff I think of at work or what-have-you.  I chose this one because it's going well so far, and of all the stuff I'm trying to do, it seems the least likely to crash and burn.

So, yes.  That's my advice this month for anyone struggling on figuring out what to work on or how to get it done: pick a project, pick a month, and focus on that.  With any luck, it'll work out - I've already done some good world-building and character work so far this month, and I haven't had as much time to dedicate to it as I'd like, since I'm also trying to get STARWIND whipped into proper beta-reading shape.  (Side note: I've already disappointed one beta-reader by telling her that Kris and Phoenix don't become a couple.  I'd say I'm sorry, but that would be a lie.)  But we'll see how it goes.  If all goes really well, I'll have a full plot and some great development by the month's end.

If it goes poorly, then I'll have something to write about for next month's IWSG.

(Also: holy crap, this is my 200th entry on this blog.  O_o  I have no idea how I've come up with that much to talk about.  But thanks for listening.)

17 comments:

  1. Two hundred posts - awesome.
    One month to focus. You can do it.

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    1. In theory, yes. In practice, we shall see.

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  2. All the best with your one month project. Sometimes you will probably have to force yourself to focus but you can do it.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia

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    1. Thank you. There have definitely been some difficult times already, but I'm pushing through so far.

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  3. I love deadlines, and I hate deadlines. I've had so many of them since getting published, and sometimes they stress me out. They always motivate me to produce though, and once you get in a productive state of mind, it spills over to all aspects of life.

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    1. True. I've only ever had one writing deadline, and it was motivating - I took a moment of pride in turning in my story three days early. ^_^

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  4. I've had some real problems with deadlines too. I like the idea of picking a day to start. Seems like a much more positive way to operate. Also, I'm a huge Writing Excuses fan, so if Brandon said it, it must be a good idea!

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  5. I have no problem meeting deadlines when revising. Writing a first draft, however ... not so much. Picking a day to start -- that's an interesting answer to how Brandon Sanderson (and how cool is that!) manages to be prolific.

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    1. It seems to work out. And I also tend to pick days to start writing first drafts, but it's getting something to the point when I can write that first draft that's problematic.

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  6. Woot for 200 blog posts!

    I like the thought of a starting deadline. I can start things on a particular day. It's just the finishing part I have trouble with. :D

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    1. Yeah, I figure that I'll eventually have someone else telling me when I need to finish things. I can wait. :P

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  7. Congrats on hitting 200! I'm going to have to try this deadline idea. I have several things I need to work on and can never decide which. It's silly, but it's totally killing my productivity. So many this is the solution.

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    1. That's pretty much right where I am. Knowing that I'll be working on one specific thing for the month is helping so far, though I do still scribble down notes for other things.

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  8. You're a prolific blogger, at least. :P

    Sounds like a plan. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks! And yeah, I made it a point a while ago to update every week (usually), and I've stuck with it since then. I didn't realize how much it had added up, though.

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  9. I have tried this method so many times but it doesn't work for me! My process is a lot like yours; I'll work on several projects at a time (the whole time feeling frustrated because I feel that I'm getting nowhere), and then out of the blue, one story will come out swinging and declare first dibs. So as crazy as the process can make me feel, it's working for me so far. I hope the new process works well for you! Keep us posted.

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