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.)