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Sunday, 2 October 2016

How Am I Going To Finish This Damned Novel?



So here we are in October. Just three months of 2016 remain, and I'm thinking, what can I do to make the most of what’s left of this year? Maybe, before I do that I ought to quickly review what I’ve already achieved, and practice the glass half full mindset, rather then getting downhearted about what I haven’t done. 

So, I’m still doing edits on my novel, and those edits have led to huge chunks of the story being rejigged, which in turn has led to changes. And of course changes mean rewriting. What I’m trying to say is, goal posts have moved and I’ve had to move with them.

Mentally, I don’t feel I’m any further ahead, but I must be? The question I’m asking myself now, is how, and more importantly, when will I finish this damned novel? It’s down to time management, and motivating myself to reach my goal. Which is a finished novel, ready to send out for a professional edit. 

I’m very lucky, not only do I have some amazingly supportive writing buddies to champion me along the way, I also belong to critique group where I get constructive feedback. I’m also in a good routine having changed from night owl to lark this year, I write at least four mornings out of seven, as well as one evening. The issue is the small amount of time I am spending on it, and although it's good to be chipping away, I'm not making big strides. 

So what can I do to aid me getting finished? It boils down to carving out even more time to write, and becoming more focused than I am at the moment. Honestly, I’m sitting here thinking, how on earth can I find any more time in my already busy week, unless I cut the other stuff I do now? Can I cut any more stuff? Do I want to cut anything else out? How many writers reading this are in the same position? You want to write, you really want to finish a project, but you are struggling to ‘make’ the time. And like me you have other necessary stuff that you really, really have to keep, be that caring for children, looking after an elderly relative, or even yourself. And then of course you might work too. Or have other pressing commitments.

I’ve been reading Give Up Ironing -  A Writers Guide To time Management by Kathleen Mc Gurl which goes a long way with trying to deal with writers who procrastinate. Yes, I’m reluctant to use that word but it’s the only one I can think of, or maybe I should use ‘time poor’ instead. Which ever it is, it’s making me frustrated and unhappy. Which is no good because it’s taking away the enjoyment of writing, and makes me think, do I want to be a novelist? 

From today, I’m following Kath's advice to keep a diary of what I’m doing with my time. For the next seven days I’m going to look for the gaps, where frankly I could be writing, because even though I think I’m filling my hours wisely,  I can’t be using my time as well as I think, otherwise I’d of been finished by now. 

It’s vital I also invest time in my health and well being, so I must continue with exercise to keep my back healthy, and to be honest, my head too, as we all know that exercise makes us feel happy. Once you’ve made the effort to start that is…and that’s the same with the writing too!

PLAN FOR THE WEEK

Writing  - Editing my novel 5 days out of six, Phoenix Writers challenge, writing a letter, and taking part in #writingchat on Twitter on Wednesday evening. Oh and re-starting the Phoenix Subs Club. Otherwise known as getting my work out there! 

Exercise - Two pool sessions, one pilates class, and one gym visit. Any walking will be a bonus. 

Reading - Continue listening to my latest audio book. 

I'll also have to do all the stuff real life chucks at me, like working, and family commitments, but I shall give it my best shot, and I’ll keep a log, to see where my time is seeping through the cracks, and could perhaps be used more wisely. However, I will definitely have to factor in some relaxation too. 

THINGS I’M GRATEFUL FOR 

# Catching up with friends and family. Although they were only small snatches of time, I’ve managed to catch up with family and friends this week.

# Meeting fellow writers and #writingchat folk, Carol Bevitt and Patsy Collins is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while and it finally happened yesterday. It was lovely to meet them in person and catch up with writerly topics. We even went for a short walk before the heavens opened and forced us into the cafe for refreshments. 



# Losing a pound and a half at Slimming World - In the words of Tesco, every little helps. As we move into Autumn, I’m looking forward to soups and stews.

# Receiving a letter. Yes, a real letter. Full of news from a writing buddy I met on Twitter a few years ago, and then in person, and now we are pen pals. 

It looks like I'm going to be very busy, and I may not succeed to get everything done, but I'm going to give it my very best shot. I’ll let you know how I get on next week.

Do let me know if you’ve made plans for the last quarter of the year, and if so what they are? I love hearing from you.

Have a good week! 

14 comments:

  1. Oh time, time, time, it's the bane of us all I think. If only we didn't need to sleep... I have already given up ironing, so I'm one step ahead there. But seriously, I find I have moments when I doubt whether I can be a writer. I think we just need to hang on in there and do the best we can until the doubts roll away for a while. It sounds like a great idea to document exactly where your time is going. I'm hoping to make some progress in the next few months. I don't want to be facing New Year still with doubts, so I need to do enough to convince myself I'm on the right track. I'm wishing you luck Maria. CJ xx

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    1. Hi CJ, thank you for your kind words. Please don't doubt yourself, you're already a writer! x

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  2. It sounds to me as though you're on the verge of a meltdown! Might I suggest booking an editor now and then you will have a deadline? Let go of the optional writing, such as competitions and writing group tasks (I know: these are the fun things), let the housework go hang and schedule in 15 mins a day to sit and breathe. On the other hand, what's the rush to get the novel finished, apart from the fact that it's driving you crazy? Are you sick of it? Stick it in a drawer for a while and do something else.

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    1. Julia, I can so identify with lots of your words, and I have thought about taking a break from the novel altogether, but it's a story that really wants to be told. It simply won't leave me alone.
      The 15 minutes sitting and breathing is a great idea, I'm going to do it! Thank you.

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  3. What a great post - honest and straight to the heart of the problem that almost all 'part-time' writers face: TIME. Or lack of it.

    I'm lucky enough to have read some of your WIP and know that you are really close to your goal of having it ready to send away for a professional edit. The main thing now is to push through that last bit of self-doubt, lock your story and get it out there. You're so close, so don't beat yourself up.

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    1. Thank you. I am going to push through...

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  4. This Hermit Writer got out and met some writing folk the other day. It is rather refreshing. (Maybe it was the wine...no...I'm sure it was being with folk who love the written word.)

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    1. It's incredibly motivating isn't it? You must do it more often. :-)

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  5. It was lovely to meet up with you and Patsy, Maria. :-)

    I'm sure you'll make progress in everything you do. Even a small dollop of progress is a good start. x

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    1. Thanks Carol, I enjoyed our chatter. :-) x

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  6. It was great to meet you finally, Maria - and Carol too.

    My writing plans for the rest of the year include writing lots more short stories, maybe an article or two, promotion of the writing book I've co written, putting together a short story collection ... I don't think it matters whether or not we do 'everything' as long as we keep making progress.

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    1. Good to meet you too Patsy.
      I'm beginning to think that way, it's motivating to see progress, and know that we are getting somewhere. Good luck with your plans.

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  7. Hi Maria - good to know you're progressing ... and yes keeping your back and your mind healthy and getting healthier really will help so much. Good luck with your goals - and how lovely to meet up with Carol and Patsy, whom I've met down here ... take care and all the best for the rest of the year and years ahead - cheers Hilary

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  8. I know your work well Maria and you are close to the finishing post. I've felt that sometimes its easy to get so close to the writing when you are near the end, that it fogs your progress, slowing you down. I've been there so many times over the last 18 months and decided in the end not to take my edits back to a group. There came a point when it was time to just write and edit it and then move on. Seems to be working at the moment, although I do take too long with my writing. The hours seem to vanish when you get immersed in a manuscript. Simple targets for the rest of the year for me. Final edits on the remaining chapters of the book and submit before Christmas, then work with new novel and comp a 500 word flash fiction.

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