So I’ve been struggling for…sheesh, years probably…trying to come up with a system to keep myself productive when it comes to writing. I will sometimes have entire weeks and occasionally months in which I get very little to nothing done, and that’s time I can’t get back. Well, I think I’ve come up with a solution, and it’s so ridiculously simple that I’m kicking myself.
The only way my brain is able to treat writing like a day job is if I actually “go to work” every day…meaning I get in my car, drive to my “workplace”, do work, and then go home when “time” is up. It’s not like I’ve never thought of doing my writing elsewhere; I’ve written in fast food places, coffee shops, bookstores, libraries. But I think in my mind I was still treating these excursions as get-aways or mini-vacations instead of a job, so it wasn’t something that I would think of doing every day. And the problem with choosing a restaurant or coffee shop as a writing office is that you’re morally (and sometimes actually) obligated to purchase something every couple of hours. That gets expensive real fast.
The other issue is hours. I’m free from 8 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon. Unfortunately, most places don’t open until 9 or 10, sometimes even 11. Technically I’d have more hours to work if I stayed home and started working at 8…but if I stay home, I often don’t get anything done at all. It’s a lot like abstinence-only sex education: looks great in theory, but in practice, I’d be better off trying a “less effective” method that actually works.
Last week I began experimenting with “going to work” at the library. I even give myself an official lunch break and everything. So far this has been working so well that I’m really, really annoyed at myself for not trying this before. If I work for 3 or 4 hours, with a break between, I can average about 2,000 words. (Mind, this is on days when the writing is actually a bit slow and difficult…I could probably do more on days when I can merrily plug along.) I’ve gone from hopefully being able to finish the rough draft of Promises, Like Tears by November to thinking I might be able to finish the draft by the end of next week. (This is my current goal, since my son’s last day of school is next Friday and after that my productivity will drop dramatically.)
My other nod to being more productive is on days when I just simply cannot work on the current story, I’m making myself outline other stuff in the queue. I have finished a fairly detailed outline for Dog Prince and Free (formerly Voiceless), and am working onputting Windwaker together. I’m discovering that a lot of my stories are much less “put together” on paper than they are in my head, but hey, that’s part of the fun…right?
Still agent hunting. Got another request for a partial, which was encouraging although they ultimately passed. I seem to vacillate between really hopeful and downright discouraged. Last night I finally broke down and did a little research on how to query the publishing houses themselves. Most don’t take un-agented stuff but I was surprised to discover that a few do, especially in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. However, that process is a lot slower: most houses require an exclusive look (which means you can’t send the manuscript to anyone else while they have it), and they can take anywhere from a few months to a year to make a decision. I’ve decided that if I haven’t found an agent for Seven Shades by the time I’ve finished This Chosen Fate, I’m going to dump Hands on the editor circuit and start hawking This Chosen Fate to the agents.
I’m going to try and do NaNoWriMo this year and hopefully finish This Chosen Fate, since it’s already started and I have a very good idea of where it’s going. It will be nice to have another finished story under my belt that isn’t part of a series.