The end. Have a great day, guys!
Okay, no, I do have stuff to say. It' just not what I want to say. I really, really want to pass on to you guys some beautiful spreadsheet or something that will help you track everything your little writer's heart might desire. Characters! Chapter length! Where you dropped those backstory breadcrumbs!
As a girl who likes life organized, whose heart beats fast while perusing The Container Store catalog, it actually bothers me that I cannot serve you all in this way. I love organization! Why am I not a more organized writer???
The answer finally occurred to me as I was writing this last book. It's because I love writing more.
Like many of you - whom I know are juggling school, sports, or have to share their computer with siblings - my writing time is crunched. With these precious people in my life:
|Yes - this is a shameless excuse to post a cute picture of my kids|
and when I factor in marketing, blogging, and networking, the time I actually get to write is precious, sacred, and needs to be guarded. And one of the things I have to guard it from is my drive to be perfect.
This is why the concept of writing a "bad first draft" was one that was so tough for me because I so wanted my story to be perfect. But writing-without-pausing-to-edit (known among writers as "bad first drafts") helped me become a more productive writer and freed me up to see the "forest" of my story rather than getting so preoccupied with each little "tree."
I've tried a couple times to keep extremely detailed spreadsheets about what goes on in each chapter. They're handy for editors (or so my editors told me when they asked for them) and can be useful for me as well. Then I wouldn't have things happen like minor characters winding up with two different names or three different eye colors.
But you know what happens to me? If I've blocked off 30 minutes to finish up my chapter, I spend my 30 minutes WRITING. I don't want to spend 25 minutes writing and 5 minutes jotting down the date, the weather, what happens, etc. If I have an extra 5 minutes when I'm done with that chapter ... then I want to use it to start on the next chapter.
So I have found for me that the first draft isn't an organized time for me. It's just not. It's kinda like when you have a baby or even a toddler in the house. It just doesn't make sense to spend time organizing their cute little outfits. Because while you're taking your shower, they're inevitably going to pull all the clothes out of their dresser. With my first draft, I'm still exploring the storyworld. I don't know yet what will be cut or added, so I've given up on organizing it.
I still have spreadsheets (one for characters and one for scenes) and a pinboard for my novel-in-progress but I find I like the old fashion Post-It note just fine. I keep a pad of them by my desk. I use them to write down:
- Pieces of dialogue for later scenes
- Stuff to research
- Plot ideas
- A question about my storyworld or character (Sometimes I take this with me and stick them on my bathroom mirror. For a long time we had one up there that said Nudity?)
|My critique partner, Roseanna M. White, made that "Anomaly" sign for me. So sweet.|
|This is to provide some perspective of how big the bulletin board is. It's big. And so, so beautiful.|
I finished the first draft for this one last week (thanks to those who cheered me on after last Thursday's post!) I keep books and articles I want to read stacked there on the shelf. They and all the notes I jotted during the process wait patiently for me to finish the first draft, and then I turn my attention to them and slowly begin to organize all my extra material.
Now that I'm done with my first draft, I plan on taking some time to check out the ywriter software Rachelle has been raving about and see if we can make an organized-first-draft-writer out of me yet.
How do you stay organized during your first draft? Or do you not?
The Go Teen Writers monthly(ish) newsletter will get sent out this evening, so if you're not yet a subscriber, now's a good time to see what it's all about. This issue has a spotlight on young writer Jenna Blake Morris, a review of Making a Literary Life, and a fun checklist for developing your story idea.
And here are the top 20 (in alpha order) from last round's writing contest. We had 67 entries last time. The winners will likely be announced later this week:
Kayla Anne CP
Laurie J. Curtis
Jenna Blake Morris
Jessica ZelliHave a great day everyone!