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"Hard is not hopeless." - General David Petraeus

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Writing A Novel In Cycles

ACFW's NovelTrack has inspired me. This program launched in July of this year. It is similar to Nanowrimo. The idea is that four times a year, writers are encouraged to sign up with a word count goal for that month then have at it.

I did it for the first time in October. And came close to achieving my word count goal (a family crisis shaved off the tail-end of my goal). As I was looking at the NovelTrack calendar and my own previous years' writing statistics, I discovered something interesting. NovelTrack's writing months are January, April, July, and October. What I learned is that these are statistically my most productive writing months of the year (2010 being an exception b/c it was filled with low productivity as a whole).

I've also been thinking about what I learned about the novel writing process of my first manuscript (which I just finished after six years). One of the things I feel very strongly about is that while it may be okay to take a few years to complete a manuscript, for me it was detrimental to take so long to complete the first draft. With my first novel, there would be lapses of month between spurts of first drafting the manuscript--probably over the course of a couple years.

I would like to try a different tack in 2011. Couple that with the fact that I have felt a very strong urge to push myself hard next year on my writing, and you have a new writing action plan for 2011. I don't know if it will work or not. I only know my previous method wasn't the most ideal.

As mentioned, NovelTrack-Writing occurs in January, April, July and October. NovelTrack-Editing (setting goals for editing your manuscript) will occur during the months of March, June, September, and December.

I also have to allow huge amounts of time for research PLUS I want there to be a gap of time between when I write and when I pick it up again to edit.

So, here's my action plan for 2011:


What that means is I have structure for my goals and will cycle through the process of write/research/edit four times next year.

Hopefully, that will equate to a better first draft, and enough time between tasks to keep the story fresh and alive to me and to prevent me from stagnating on one thing as I am so often bound to do.

I'm planning a high monthly word count goal and it's going to be extremely difficult, especially given the magnitude of the stress level at work these days. But I think I need to push hard, in more ways than one, to make it to the next level as a writer.

I'm looking forward to the writing possibilities for 2011. And I pray that cycling through the manuscript in this way which shave a few years off my time to completion. Guess we'll find out about this time next year. 8-)

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