February 19, 2013

Color Me Determined

I'm feeling very proud of myself these days.

Flash back about five months.  I was having a devil of a time writing my eBook Something Real, a process that took about eight months altogether.  Although I liked what I'd written, I wasn't happy with the amount of time it was taking.  Then I had the bright idea for the ending (which I usually write before the rest of the story).  It would end with a cliffhanger...an ending where readers (at least those who didn't want to throw something at me) would be anxious to know the rest of the story.  It wasn't that big a deal...I'd already warned readers that only one of the two romances in the book was going to be complete.

Ending with a cliffhanger would present a major, but much-needed, challenge for me.  No way could I ask readers to wait eight months for the resolution.  I vowed to have the conclusion, Man of Her Heart, published within four months.  Just to be safe, I put in the book that it would be published by the spring.

I'm happy to report that I published Man of Her Heart on February 17th, just three months and two days after Something Real.  How did I do it?

That's right.  I told myself I was going to get it done.  I made a promise to produce at least a modest 500 new words every day, to take off when I needed to and not beat myself up about it, and if I wrote more, that was fine, too.  In November I produced a 12,452 words.  Kind of paltry, but my husband and I hosted a family reunion over Thanksgiving weekend with 25 family members, 15 of whom stayed at our house.  Obviously I was too busy enjoying my family to get a lot of writing done that week.  My mother came before the reunion and stayed a week after it ended (about 3-1/2 weeks in all), but I learned to be flexible.  If she wanted to go to the Y and work out, I brought my laptop with me and used that time to write.

In December I did better, 20,942.  I was doing my Christmas shopping and baking, and all gifts and cookies had to be shipped out of town, so I was packing as well.  In addition, I re-designed my web site and, after learning about a company (there are several) that helps authors sell eBooks directly to the public, I set up an eStore at my website. Then two people close to my husband passed away the same week, so we went out of town for a few days to attend both funerals.  All things considered, I did pretty good.

January was best of all, with no house guests, no major chores pending, and (thank God), no deaths.  I wrote 30,920 words, some of which belonged to the proofreading/revising of a backlist title I'd had scanned, Where There's Smoke, which I ePubbed in mid-January.  I knew I'd be able to publish Man of Her Heart by mid-February; the cover art was already done, and my editor was standing by.

The three things that helped me the most were:  1) Thinking about the scene I wanted to write before I sat down at the laptop, often working out the first one or two sentences; 2) Writing in chunks; and 3) Scrivener.

I'd think about what I wanted to write while having breakfast, then sit down and write, often 750 or 1000 words rather than just 500.  Then I'd do some housework and maybe some errands, think about what scene I wanted to write next, then sit down and write, for another 500-750 words in the afternoon.  I would often do this a third time after dinner.  Some days I was creating more than 2000 words.  I made an Excel graph to record my output each day by project (yes, some of those words belonged to future projects; I learned a long time ago to write down any ideas that pop into my head).  Finally, the Scrivener software, which I used for the first time for an entire book, helped me keep everything organized. I adore this software!

So I created a book in 90 days (another factor is that this book is shorter than my others have been) and I'm feeling proud of myself.  But not for long.  It's time to move on.  I've got another backlist title to finish proofing and revising for a March release...a short prequel to offer for late March/early April, a novella based on the prequel in April...

A writer's work is never done!


K.L. Brady said...

This is truly inspiring! Thinking about the scenes ahead of time and Scrivener are really getting me through my latest novel too. And I come up with the ideas for the scenes the night before I write them and then I write early to catch my thoughts while they're fresh. I'm 30K words into novel 6 and I think I can finish it by early April if I keep up this record.

bettye griffin said...

You absolutely will, K.L.! Good luck to you. The nicest thing is that once you get your rhythm going, the words just pour out...