Questions answered: Novel progress and New Year’s resolutions

writing

Some of you are wondering how my first novel is coming along. Hard truth: I’ve been slacking. For me, writing for the web — not fiction — is my main job, and with hours of writing, reading, and researching looming ahead of me every day, I’m too exhausted by the end of it to think of doing anything more.

Actually putting down the words was easy enough, but now I’ve moved on to revision, the part where I’m stuck. That’s the most intensive stage of all, and I’ve struggled with developing a schedule that could work for me. Putting in an hour here and there won’t work — revision takes time and investment, which doesn’t lend itself well to scattered half-hour or hour-long sessions, at least not in my experience.

For me, the remaining time in the day goes to one of two options: more writing (and reading/revising) or leisure. I usually pick leisure. It gives me a break and a chance to recharge, which I desperately need for the day ahead. That’s also when I read books for this blog (in addition to what I read for Kirkus), play games (besides the ones I review), socialize with friends, run errands, do housework, spend time with my boyfriend, and basically get as far away from my computer screen as possible.

Not to mention some weeks are hectic as hell and I don’t have time to do my 3-week-old pile of laundry, let alone work on my novel.

But I’m not very happy with this excuse, and that’s what it is — an excuse. Because novel revision isn’t easy, and it requires sacrifice, hard work, and a good schedule. I can handle the first two, but I need help with the last one. Does anyone have any tips that are particularly useful for the revision stage? My goal for this coming year is to update this blog with some sort of monthly progress — not necessarily specific examples, but general problems I encountered and how I overcame them so you can, too.

What do you think? Any ideas? I’d love to hear them even if you’re not writing a novel yourself.

7 thoughts on “Questions answered: Novel progress and New Year’s resolutions

  1. Sarah

    Wow, what a schedule! I don’t know how you fit all that into one day, let alone the revisions on the novel. Whew! At the same time, even though it’s busy for you, it makes me pretty darn happy that you have all this work to do :) YAY!

  2. valerierlawson

    sometimes i find when i’m making excuses it’s because i’m afraid of something. i know it sounds strange, but i’m usually doing a bit of self-sabotage. if i actually finish this novel, then what? i’ll have to send it out and start getting rejections. if it’s accepted, what comes next? success? am i ready for that? i mean, really ready? i don’t know…

    i’ve been told over and over by a very wise mentor of mine that if you want to write, HAVE to write, you will MAKE the time. you carve it out where ever you can. end of story.

    sure revision is hard; it’s supposed to be, so if writing is your passion, do it when you’re at you’re best. if that’s early in the morning, get up earlier and devote your best hours to your work. if you really feel that you do better with one long session, set aside one chunk of time a week and stick to it. letting others know about your plans with weekly updates or having a writing buddy may help you stick with your plan. that’s one reason i participate in #writemotivation and go to my critique group every month – it forces me to be productive and accountable with some type of deadlines, even if they are self-imposed. hope that helps.

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