So I was sitting around at the end of January without much work done on my novel in a couple of weeks and decide I needed something “NaNo-esque” to get me going again. I thought, hell, February is a rather slow month, let’s go for a proverbial boot in the kiester during the whole 28 days. What I decided to call it was “Recharge Your Novel Month.” Basically all it meant was that I was would spend one hour, one measly hour a day with my novel. That didn’t necessarily mean drafting, but reading, editing, tweaking, whatever. For that one hour a day, it’d be lock-down time and treating my novel like the lovely thing it is (obsessed much?)
I pitched the idea to the wonderful Mythic Scribes community and many jumped on board. It’s been great seeing others go through the ups and downs of working out their writerly muscles throughout the month and hopefully learning something about themselves and their novels. For me, I’ve learned that routines are needed in my life. Without routines, I become scatter-brained, I procrastinate to no end, and I become depressed and aimless. This is just me personally. I’ve found that I look forward to this solitary hour of writing every day. While oftentimes I do more than one hour throughout the day, as long as do THE hour, I’m happy and content with my lot in life.
So far, I’ve wrote one hour or more every day I’ve allotted time. That makes twenty days straight of working on my novel in one way or another. The key to this isn’t to stop doing it after February is over. I hope this can now become my routine. My ticket to writer sanity that I’ve needed. My productivity protein shake if you will.
What have I been doing exactly? Numbered list? Numbered list.
1. Drafting: I’d say about 85% of my time has been doing my first draft. I’m inching towards completion. Honestly, I’m so close I can taste it. The more and more I look at it though, I feel this is going to become a series. Not something I originally wanted, but I’m a go with the flow kind of person. If it needs to be a series, cool deal. Rock and roll. All that jazz.
2. Editing: This has been about 10% of the month so far. I carry around a beat up version of my manuscript in my backpack with me. It’s not the whole thing, but probably the first fifteen or so chapters. When I’m away from my computer, I delve into this with my multi-colored pen (it’s a Japanese pen that is super awesome) and I mark things in black, red, and green. I circle passive phrases, underline some sentences I don’t like, and make consistency notes. I hope doing this will allow me to edit more efficiently when the time comes.
3. Reading and Tweaking: My last 5% has been just reading through and tweaking small things. This could be one of those, “Wait a minute, he said this there, but it doesn’t make sense now here.” They’re small light bulbs going off here and there where I read a chapter and realize it doesn’t make sense. I’ve also been changing some characters’ names that are too similar or I just don’t like them.
Overall, it’s been a very productive month, maybe more so than November is for me because I’m not working in word counts, I’m working in time spent. And I find if I’m not rushing, but I’m still putting in the time, it’s coming out a lot smoother.
Well then, how am I going to keep this up?
Not sure yet, but I’m definitely carrying this over into the foreseeable future.
For others out there reading: what kind of productivity methods have you used? Which ones worked and which ones didn’t? Feel free to share!
P.S. Big thanks to all my Mythic Scribes pals who are doing great as well!
And remember, at Philip Overby’s Fantasy Free-for-All it’s all fantasy, all the time!