Saturday, March 13, 2004

Having a schedule of work posted on the wall beside me has helped keep me up to date on the work that absolutely has to be done. I am virtually done with the class that is posted later tonight and most of the way through the one that is posted Monday night. I've edited one short story -- I'll go over it again today -- and gotten much farther on Muse (final edit on chapter six right now). The new novel is going well at the 500 words a day rate. As soon as I get at least one of the classes done I'll pick that rate up a bit. I have not gone on with the Sangre story, though it's still playing at the back of my mind.

Mostly I've been fighting off massive headaches and trying to keep up with other site stuff -- not easy when your head feels like it's going to explode if you try to do one more thing.

One thing that has amazed me is that I've edited every single day so far this year, a total of 351 pages as of yesterday. Some of it is only a page or two, but every now and then I get on a role (64 pages on two projects yesterday) and I love it. I will have a short story in the mail on Monday.

Reminds me... I should schedule in a day each month just to check on the status of stuff that's still out.

Okay, yes, the scheduling stuff might be getting a little out of hand. But if it gets some of the work done... well, I'm all for it.

I took a Claritin about half an hour ago... and I feel better than I have in days. A shame it was the last one I had. I'm going to be sorry when it wears off. I had better get some work done before then.

I'm not, normally, a very organized person. I've nothing really against organization, and I take advantage of it when I need the push (like getting things done for FM). However, for the most part my life is free of structure. I work well that way because I know what I want and I get it done. I will always get the writing done because that's important to me. Housework is less likely to be finished, but I'll get to it eventually.

But here's the thing... I see people all the time who say that they want to be writers, that it's their goal to be published, that they want to make a living by words... and they do everything but actually write. They'll spend an hour watching a TV show they don't even particularly like rather than sit down and write 500 words. The words might not be perfect! They're not in the mood, and how can you write if you're not in the mood?

Writing when you are only in the mood is for people who have no intention of making it their business. Even if you really can't come up with the next scene for your novel or the opening to the short story eludes you, you can still spend that hour doing writing-related things like outline, character creation or even writing exercises.

If you don't make yourself write with some sort of regularity -- it doesn't have to be every day -- then how do you expect to get the work done when your new publisher gives you a contract and says they want the next book in the series by a specific date?

The odd thing is that once you get into the knack of doing a little work on a regular basis, the 'muse' comes to you when you call, not the other way around. You are training your mind to be open to ideas, rather than having to go and hunt them down and club them to get them on the paper.

So, the schedule on my wall may be a little odd, but every time I mark something else off the list for that day, I know I've accomplished something, and it's all writing related. It makes it easier to work through the things that have to be done, and allows me to concentrate on the work itself rather than worrying about what I might have forgotten to get done.

What have you done for your muse today? How have you made it easier to write?

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