Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Name is Casey, and I’m a Writing Slob…


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)

jan writing schedule clip clc

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.)

This weeks progress 1_14_13 clc

THREE: WIP progress meter

Okay, I was just procrastinating here.

wip progress meter 1_16_13 clc

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.

Edit highlights during roughdraft

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.


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?


  1. p.s. some of you may have noticed that day in the Writing Log, in which it took me 6hrs to write 2k... yes, that is another of my bad habits... I will spend my writing time doing non-writing things. (I have been working on this...and it will probably be an upcoming post.) *tsk tsk* Another reason a writing log is sweet... shows you what your really doing when you claim to be writing. LOL

  2. Great post, Casey! Have you tried Write or Die ?? (obviously for first draft only)

    I find that it really helps me to get more done. Also I've found making notes about what I want to accomplish during each individual writing session is helpful.

  3. Yes, I need to make notes about my goals, I think... I actually just added a Personal Writing Journal to my Writing Log file today(and used a fun cursive font ;)... I sometimes have stressful days were I feel off and the work is bad or non-existent, no matter how long I sit at my desk... So I thought a little journaling might help me figure out what is going on there... where I left my head at, you know?

    For instance, I used it today, and in a very short time I realized that I was just being way too hard on myself... but I needed to see it on paper, I guess. So I ran 2 miles (to help me kind of reset) and felt sooo much better! Now I'm right as rain. :)

    I need to check out that Write or Die...I have heard of it... sounds interesting!

  4. I agree that journalling can help you see the forest thru the trees as it were. Good for you for getting out there for a run. Sometimes a physical reset makes all the difference.

    You can try the Write or Die free version online. (just make sure to copy your work before you click off the site) I like it so much I paid for the app.

  5. Sweet, thanks! Lol, and thanks for the tip...i'd hate to lose words!

  6. I like your color coding! I may have to steal that. I usually write notes to myself on the side in Scrivener.

  7. I hope the color coding works well for you, Lydia! Thanks! I use the document notes on the side in Scrivener, too... then if coloring text, just switch to project notes for legend.

    I still haven't quite figured out that 'scratch pad' feature in Scrivener, though! Lol

  8. Very cool blog. Interesting posts. ;)
    Nice atmosphere guests with you here on the blog. ;]
    Yours. Have a nice day. !

    Follow me on facebook fanpage and blog
    I'm very concerned about this, please. :)

    1. Thanks, Patrycija! I'm so glad you stopped by! You have a nice day, as well! :)

  9. Casey, this was a.... wow! you are way way more organized than I am. I am totally going to try that color coding scheme you've got going there.

    Great post, and thank you for the ideas.

    1. Eden, Thank you so much!

      I'm new to the organized thing... I used to just sit and go. It was so fun that way, too.. but man- the last year I spent editing was so overwhelming! I had to change something, that tangled mess of a first draft was ruining the fun of creating the story, for me! Lol

      I really hope that the color coding works well for you!

      Happy writing!! :D



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