April 18, 2016

Deadlines. How to write with them. #MondayMotivation #amwriting #writeon

Monday Motivation . . . Writerly things and stuff.

So you think you can write?

Yes? Me too. Mix in the day job (for me it's keeping up with an adorably rambunctious toddler), family, friends, social life (what's that, right?), and just plain old day-to-day living and things seem--erm, a bit hectic. And still, writing somehow happens. Now, an exciting opportunity comes your way and suddenly *cues dramatic music* a deadline stares you in the face. EEP. 

You're totally stoked but also slightly--yeah, okay, definitely--terrified. All the words must be written by a certain date. For someone like me, a pantser who occasionally tosses in a timeline or rough one-chapter-ahead outline just for kicks and giggles, this is that moment. That moment where the snizzle gets uber serious and meeting those daily word counts is more than something I'd like to do . . . it's something I must do.

My current deadline project was for a historical fiction anthology. I had to come up with a one-sentence pitch, a synopsis, and the opening scene. Whaa?? Totally did it. Now the wait is on to see if my proposal gets picked. *fingers crossed*

So, let's get technical... How do you realistically make a deadline work while still living life? Excellent question.

#1 What needs to be included in your proposal? Or how long does the manuscript (MS) need to be? When is it due?

After you've determined these things, you can make a daily word count (WC) goal. I gave myself a day to write the rough draft of my proposal (pitch/synopsis); although, I'd been researching events/places and mulling over themes for a few days prior.

Let's say you're working on a MS that's 15k words (approximately 60 pages), and you want to complete it in 30 days. This means a minimum of 500 words a day must be written. You could break it down even further and write 250 words before work and the last 250 before bed. I find that making goals to reach for is extremely helpful for me.

#2 How do you find time to write? 

This is a tough one! For me I used to write before my day job and during my lunch break. Now that I'm a stay-at-home mom, I usually write before the toddler wakes up and during his naptime--if I'm on a deadline I'll write after he goes to bed. But I've found that writing after 7pm isn't my most productive time, because my brain is pretty much mush by then.

#3 To outline or not to outline...that is the question. 

As I've confessed, I'm a pantser by nature. For this particular project, it was a proposal, so plotting was a must. I found Jane Friedman's post on writing a synopsis very helpful. And this post on writing a book blurb really helped me refine my story idea, so that I could write the one-sentence pitch.

When I'm writing a MS, I always refer to Michael Hauge's plot structure for story structure guidance.

#4 Just write. 

It's as simple and as mind-blowingly (I'm a rebel, I take liberties with words) difficult as that. I have to constantly remind myself of this, but don't edit as you write. Spelling, eye color, names...all of those things can be fixed later. The important thing--especially while writing under a deadline--is to make sure words are being typed onto the page.

#5 Annihilate distractions. 

Yeah, so, erm, this is an extremely difficult one for me. I'm so easily-- Ooo, shiny thing. 

Turn off the social medias. Stop checking email. Don't watch TV (unless that's part of your writing ritual). And one that almost sends me into a tailspin...turn off the cellphone. It's not forever. Just for a certain allotted amount of time. Even if it's only thirty minutes. Every. Minute. Counts.

#6 Roadblocks in the Muse's fast-lane. 

Yup, they happen...to everyone, even if they don't talk about it. Something I have recently started doing: using the <insert thing here>. Get your mind out of the gutter. What I mean is, if I can't figure out a specific and it's really bothering me, I'll use a placeholder and come back to it later. I had several of these in the middle grade (MG) novel I recently finished. 

How about you? Are you writing under a deadline? Have you? What's your secret? I'd love to know.


Story prompt:

Want more motivation? Who doesn't? Check out more of my Monday posts.


Writing is rewriting is coffee is chocolate is rewriting . . . karen

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