Sunday, Bloody Sunday… Planning for tomorrow

Sometimes I think Sunday is almost a national day of mourning. Even international. Everyone wakes up (with or without a hangover), realises it’s Sunday and that tomorrow they’re back to work, and a universal groan arises. I’m sure seismographs could pick it up, this low vibration of pain and horror that echoes round the country as the workforce lurches sideways into wakefulness.

Exceptions to this rule would be my good friend Andrew Mocete who has a different work schedule and myself, who has no work schedule at all.

But that’s not quite true. I do consider myself to be working, it’s just that no one is paying me for it yet. And since no one else is setting my schedule, it can be hard to stick to it. Sometimes it’s impossible. My general hopes, fears and daily needs (buying lunch, finding a clean plate, etc) are often as, in not more, important than work, in my brain’s rather cockeyed view of things. This means that while I can be relied on (mostly) to write a blog post every day, I can’t be relied on to do any work on my manuscript every day. Sadly yesterday was a case in point – I didn’t do anything.

Today I have a long list of writing-related tasks:

Firstly, I have to write this post. Awesome, I can check that off the list in about 250 words’ time.

Secondly, I have to put together all the ideas for the collaborative writing story from the comments on that post and start working on that world and characters. The first post in the series will be on Tuesday, so you might want to keep an eye out for that. I’m somewhat scared but very excited about it!

Thirdly, I have to knuckle down with Chapter One of the novel. It needs sorting out. It’s better than it was, but not as good as it needs to be. This, my friends, is what critique partners are for. I recently gained four more (they are all awesome) and the general opinion is that the hook occurs at the end of Chapter One. Which means that about 1500 words of that chapter are in the wrong place. *sigh*

Fourthly, I really need to do some more writing. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to realise what I was missing in my daily life. When I was writing I was turning out two chapters (around 3000 words) a day. Editing, to say the least, is not going as fast. Editing is often boring and incredibly hard work, but always necessary. We know that. But there is a reason we don’t call what we do ‘editing’. We call it writing. Because writing is where the fun is. The joy of creation and the thrill of the new story unfolding from our fingertips. I have decided that, regardless of where I am in the editing process, I should always be writing as well. Since I have another story all planned out, it’s time to get down to that.

What about you? How do you keep the joy alive? Do you focus solely on one manuscript at a time or do you alternate writing with editing? Or maybe write/edit two manuscripts at once? I’m interested – tell me about your writing lives!

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About Mhairi Simpson

Writer, dreamer. Magic, dragons, pink mice, cake. Come say hi!
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8 Responses to Sunday, Bloody Sunday… Planning for tomorrow

  1. I write horribly if I only have one project going. For the past nine years, I’ve almost always had two writing projects going at the same time. It keeps me going, because as I write for a while on one story, and when I start to feel drained, I jump over to the second story and feel totally refreshed and ready to go on that. I go back and forth like that. But I know not everyone writes that way–some people can only focus on one story at a time.

    Editing is exhausting. Completely exhausting. I am taking a reading break because my brain is so much mush. I have four books right now in plotting stages/being written/already written but being revised or in desperate need of being revised.

    Out of curiosity, why is the hook in your first chapter in the wrong place? Is the general consensus that it needs to be at the beginning or the middle? (I’m curious because I know some books/writers have the action start right away, and some introduce “normal world” and “this is what the characters’ normal life looks like” before shattering it to oblivion.)

    • I think that approach is going to work for me too, having several things on the go. That way I can get my writing jollies while doing editing. Hopefully it will keep me fresh for both tasks, as you say.

      I tend towards the shattering into oblivion part early on, but have read so much about introducing your character before expecting anyone to care about them, that I put in other stuff first. Unfortunately, it feels a bit like an infodump. The hook is currently the last line of the first chapter. Well, that’s where the critiquers said “This is where I am hooked to read more”. If you’re interested the line in question (and the one before it, just to provide some context) is “As it happened, the lecture never came. We were both distracted by a massive explosion.”

      So, I have to do some set-up beforehand as I think the events immediately prior to the explosion are good character-building stuff. I wanted the explosion to come at the end of the chapter, but it’s going to have to be earlier and all the back story stuff will have to be filtered in around the events, as it should be (someone slap me).

  2. alberta ross says:

    I can only write one novel at the time – I can do blogs plans etc at the same time. As to self imposed time I have whole days for writing and then the days when something outisde is going on ie book group /hospital visits, lunch! I write if I have time but it’s not factored in (I found it bugged me losing these days as I put it but now I fill them with things that I have to do not related to writing – works ok so far it does mean of course there is no ‘day of’ w/ends the same as weekdays!!

  3. amkuska says:

    Any reference, however indirect, to U2 deserves a retweet. ^^

  4. I’ve been trying to focus on editing Fie Eoin, but I found myself in that same rut. So today I’m editing Fie Eoin AND continuing the first draft of a story I started a couple years ago and burned out on by trying to write it too fast. We’ll see how it works 🙂

    • Don’t forget – the first episode of the collaborative story goes up tomorrow – EEK! Need a title! Anyway, there’ll be three choices that will need voting on, so spend a little of your reading time over here 🙂

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