It is finally time to start that new book.
I’m both excited, and nervous.
In my past WIP’s, I have plowed through the draft as fast as I could, with little planning save a day or so in advance per scene, and a vague Idea about where I was going. I may know what I want my ending to achieve. In my last WIP, I did have my ending early, and it made the book go faster. But in most of my early WIP’s I never made it out of the editing phase. The story crumbled.
My last WIP made it farther than any of my others… and let me tell you… it got bloody. I was in over my head with my own careless bad habits.
I may be a tidy person at home… but as a writer, I have learned that I am a slob on the page. So I made a list of the things I do in draft, that piss me off in edit.
Fingers crossed this helps, I am going grey here!
I would also like to note that, while most of these ideas pertain to issues I struggle with, several of the ideas here are discussed/adapted from Rachel Aaron’s 2k->10k that I mentioned in an earlier post. (to read that post, click here.) That book came to me in a time when I was disgusted with my writing habits, as my days were spent cleaning up my lazy writing. So, you can tell, I’m a fan-girl.
I’m not going to talk about ALL of my bad writing habits in this one post, it would make you cringe… but here are a few changes I have already made:
I am my own boss. I am my own employee. To that end, I make my own schedule. (I file this above my manuscript in the Scrivener file.)
It is a lot easier to hold yourself to a schedule if you actually make it. I’ve done it both ways, and trust me…HUGE difference!
(below is an example of my writing schedule)
SECOND: The writing log
this is straight out of 2k10k… but dude… I love looking at the numbers climb… this is feeding off of that NaNoWriMo energy of momentum. You see your most productive times of day and places and can modify your schedule accordingly, or just see how far you’ve come. (I file this below the schedule in the Scrivener file.)
THREE: WIP progress meter
Okay, I was just procrastinating here.
FOUR: Editing Legend.
Totally customizable legend that I place in the “project notes” section on my Scrivener file. (this is one of mine. and my personal favorite.)
In the WIP I just edited, I would constantly jump into a sort of ‘note to self’ narration mode that left HUGE chunks of text unusable in manuscript, and need total rewrites, not to save time, but because it was a bad habit I picked up from NaNo-ing… just hit that word count… go,go,go… well… no. I always forgot about it, and had to re-read my manuscript over and over to find them all.
This helps me see how much I’m setting up for edit, and helps keep me honest… no needless laziness… no hours of hunting for these passages.
If I’m brainstorming fast in first draft, and on a roll with a plot or character point, I don’t take the time to write the detailed descriptions or dialogue that I want in the end, and I HATE re reading the entire piece just to find one little thing… (I value efficiency. I know, I say that a lot, but it is so true.) So I just look at my legend and highlight the entire section the appropriate color for the edit it will need. Scrivener has pretty much an infinite number of colors you can use, but I kept it simple.
MAJOR TIME SAVER RIGHT THERE.
It is not editing as you go, but it is a major tool when editing time comes to help blow that first pass edit right out of the way. Cuts down on some of the manuscript scouring.
Plus it only takes two seconds. Faster than even a note. :)
This is just a few of the things I’m doing to help boost my productivity this year.
As far as learning from my mistakes… I’m probably always going to struggle with the editing process, but I hope that I can get out in front of it with a little more preparation. In the past I’ve never fully outlined my books, but after going through editing hell in this last year (and being thoroughly disgusted with my writing habits on the page), I’m willing to concede that to change the outcome, you must change the approach.
What are some of your bad writing habits? How have you been working to improve them?