Good evening! Or morning! Or afternoon! depending on where you are in the world. 😀
So here I am, showing up. I’ll get right to it.
Writing this book and seeing an end in sight, at least for book 1, I have learned a few things about myself. Who knew? I suppose with every experience is a lesson to be learned. Here are a few things I’ve learned about myself in this book journey, so far:
1. Between being a pantser (fly by the seat of my pants), planner (more structured, writing outlines, etc.), and plantser (a bit of both) – before now I’ve always been more of a pantser. I’ve always sat down to a blank screen and just allowed my mind to bleed through my fingers, typing it all out as fast as my little digits can fly, just soaring along with the flight of imagination, anticipation, and allowing my wings to carry me, with no safety net to catch me if I forget how to fly. Sometimes I allow fear to creep in, even amidst flight and start questioning myself. My wings fizzle out, I fall, and splatter all over the pavement below. Feathers everywhere. So, somewhere along the way of this book, I started being more of a planner.
First, I decided Word, alone, was not doing me any favors, so I decided to use my Nanowrimo winnings to purchase Scrivener at the prize price (I’m a creature of habit, so this is a surprising turning point for me).
Second, I revised everything I had, separating it all into scenes, and then putting them in order (one fabulous feature of Scrivener).
Third, I reviewed the scenes and decided where the chapter breaks would go.
Fourth, I made a separate text file, placing titles in an organized chart (Chapter 1, Ch 2, etc.) took every individual thread for each chapter and numbered them, so I have only a certain number of threads per chapter (and some threads continue through each chapter), in order to not overwhelm the reader with too much going on all at once, as well as keep me in line as to what story needs to be told in each chapter.
2. Absence does not necessarily make the heart grow fonder. Taking a break from the book is never a good idea – at least not for me. I am very ADD. When I take a break from something, I tend to put it on a shelf and busy myself so much with meaningless tasks (although I suppose cleaning and organizing my house and reading is not meaningless) that I have absolutely no free time to look at book work. There are really no good excuses for not getting the book work done. If I have a lot going on, I should just get up earlier or stay up later or do it on my lunch hour. At least 1 hour per day is a prerequisite if I am ever going to finish it. Thankfully, I’m on the home stretch but NOT if I keep setting it on a shelf and keep taking breaks. Look, I get up at 4am 2-3 days per week for the gym, and then go home and get clean, walk 7 steps into my office and go to work by 730. There is always an hour, whether at lunch or after work. If I have an appointment at lunch and a supper to go out to after work, I can simply stay up an hour later than I normally do and get the work done.
3. I’m a better writer in the morning, although the occasional evening has provided much motivation AFTER I get started. If I don’t make the effort to sit down and do the work, it won’t get itself done. If I do carve out an hour, I find that after 15-30 minutes, I’m totally in the zone and can sometimes turn one hour into 2 or 3, if I have it to spare.
4. I can actually be funny. I am so NOT a funny person. Silly, yes. Funny? Only in my own mind. But when I was re-reading my chapter 1 to see what I needed to revise, I found a paragraph that made me laugh so hard, I cried. I had forgotten what I wrote, and reading it out loud to Buddy (my dog), that paragraph just made me bust a gut!! And this book is not meant to be funny. It’s more of a dark, adventuresome fantasy/drama for young adults – though there are pieces of humor, innocent romance, suspense, horror, mystery, etc.
5. I have a book deadline text doc in my Scrivener project also, as well as on my desk paper calendar and phone calendar, and while this is useful to have a schedule, I sort of feel the deadlines have been stressing me out and stifling my creativity because it makes me feel limited, so I kept the deadline file but add (or plus 3-10+ days, give or take) to each day’s deadlines, so this gives me a framework to see where I am and where I need to be in any given week. It shows me where I need to go from here. The good thing is I can change it and update it each week, which I have done pretty much every week. Honestly, I’m not sure how the deadlines are helping me. I suppose it lights a fire under me on some days. Other days, fear makes me put it on a shelf.
6. I have to keep telling myself (and I put a sign in front of me at my desk, as well as on the top of my daily schedule) DO THE WORK EVERY DAY IF YOU WANT TO GET TO WHERE YOU WANT TO BE. ACTION IS THE FIRST STEP TO COMPLETION = SUCCESS.
I’ve learned a bit more about myself through this journey but these are but a few of the nuggets I wanted to share with you today.
You have to find what works for you. If you have that dream, that goal, that thing you want so badly you can taste it, don’t let anything stop you from working toward it. If you want the thing, you have to take action. Talking to me, too. Do the thing. Get a few steps closer to where you want to be. Because if you don’t try, you’ll never know how amazing you can be, and how easy and wonderful life can become. Don’t stay in the same place. Don’t allow yourself to get stagnant. One of your many purposes? You were put here to grow. So bloom.
What have you done today or this week to get you a few steps closer to what you want? Do you know what you want?