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It’s the Beginning of Something Great

I’ve come to the conclusion, only recently, that it is absolutely possible for me to take myself seriously as a writer. As such, I have decided to make it my occupation and do it as professionally as I possibly can. Watch this space.

Phase one has a lot to do with learning about social media visibility and overall marketing. Whatever the advice though, my problem has always been patience and consistence. I want to see results yesterday! But I suppose everybody is a bit like that.

Phase two (these numbers don’t actually determine any order, as both phases are happening at the same time) is publishing the romance novel I’ve been working on. This process is also divided in stages, stages which, in this case, are indicative of order.

Stage one was writing the first draft. Sounds silly, but now that it’s done, I can say it was the easy part. Of course, it’s easy to say that when you have your good old friend hindsight with you. Always a good sidekick, hindsight.

I wrote the first draft in about three months, averaging 2250 words a day (I am a systematic person, numbers matter to me). I was fueled and motivated by several things. First, the overall sense that I had gained through the years, through experience and other people’s sayings, that the first draft is always going to be rubbish. Second, by Stephen King’s advice in On Writing, which build on the previous fact and says something on these lines: since it’s going to be crap, you might as well get through it as fast as you can. So I did that.

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What also helped is planning. I think I could get through anything in life as long as I have a plan and a spreadsheet to track my progress. In my planning, I used an article I read in ‘Writing Magazine’ a while ago.

You have to start at the end, then work backwards.

When do you want to have what finished. Then halve the time, and figure out where you need to be at then to achieve your goal when you want to. Then halve the time again, and figure out where you need to be at. Repeat the process until you have what you need to do today to achieve your goal on time, and set that as your daily goal. Easy, right? Especially if you are talking about word count.

Of course, the planning is the easy part. It’s the doing that gets harder. I did well, but a key part of it was to set a minimum word count that was achievable. It can me a hundred words, it can be a thousand, it’s up to you, but there are always days, whether is due to sickness, children, life, when you won’t be able to achieve anything, so a small target will help. It was five hundred words for me.

But the real work comes now. After a few months of illness and studying for university, I am finally free to use my time as I wish (the time, of course, I am not doing laundry, cooking, changing nappies, sanitizing bumps and cuts and running after children, that is). So the time has come to edit the novel. The editing as such is also divided in stages, you might be interested to know.

Stage one is rereading. And yes, I have a daily target of how much to reread a day. Along the rereading, I am taking notes of plot issues, new ideas and other pointers that will help me with stage two.

Stage two will be re-planning the plot, possibly chapter by chapter.

Stage three will be rewriting by following the plan resulting from the previous stage.

There are more stages in my editing process, but there is no point in mentioning them just yet because there is no point, for example, on proofreading a story that might change drastically on its first rewrite.

Stage one of the editing process is starting now so, having re-read only one chapter, progress is at 2.5%. I’ll keep you updated!

In the meantime, Good Day and Good Writing!

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