In my last post I wrote about my struggles with focus and motivation. Thankfully, in the past two weeks I’ve managed to move through that particular bout of procrastination and have been fairly head down working on a freelance editorial project and my work-in-progress.
The freelance project ate up a lot of my time, so I’m afraid my goal reporting is going to be less-then-stellar. But for the sake of transparency, here’s how I did with my stated goals from my last Writer Unplugged post two weeks ago:
- Continue fleshing out my outline for the WIP, either on my wall or in Scrivener – YES!
- Continue filling out my lists of main themes and key points for the WIP – YES
- Write a blog post for author community, continuing my behind-the-scenes look at Doable – NO
- Explore using Google Hangouts as a tool for my Doable Interview series – NO
- Continue researching SEO and how to tag my blog posts – NO
- Explore hiring a VA who can research podcasts and blogs for me for possible guest posts, etc. – NO
The good news? I made some serious progress on my work-in-progress. The bad news? I did next to nothing in terms of promoting Doable and my other teen books. Since my goal is to consistently promote my books, in that regard the past two weeks was a big fail. But no worries. I can pick this up where I left off, and now that my freelance gig is complete, I can get back onto a more regular schedule.
In my last post, I promised to walk you through my process for creating a one-sheet (or in my case, a “three-sheet”) for a book idea, or any creative project for that matter. So I include that below. But before I go into that, here’s a brief update on where things stand with my work-in-progress.
WORK-IN-PROGRESS: AN UPDATE
As you know, I recently hired memoir writing coach Theo Nestor to help me as I begin figuring out the structure for my book. I sent Theo a copy of the “one-sheeter” I created for my agent, as well as a few writing samples from my Tilt-a-World blog, and we set up a call to talk through themes, organization, and a plan for moving forward based on my timeline.
During our call, we explored the big-picture timeline (a goal of having a completed book proposal including several sample chapters by mid-April) and how I should proceed. We agreed that it was just about time for me to stop with the gathering, researching, and organizing of raw material and switch to outlining the book so I could take a stab at writing a draft of one of the chapters.
We got out the calendars, talked it through, and I agreed to send her a picture of my visual outline (see photo) by end of day, Sunday, February 22nd. I knew this plan would work for me since I have this powerful aversion to not following through on a commitment of any kind. Because of my editorial freelance project, I didn’t have a chance to truly tackle this BIG job until the weekend, but I sent it off to her by 10pm Sunday evening, right before settling in for a glass of wine and an episode of Breaking Bad with the hub.
Up next is the chapter draft, which I promised to send to Theo before I leave for a ski trip next week. (Oy). I haven’t chosen the chapter yet, but I plan to begin my SFD (shitty first draft) of this chapter by Saturday. My hope is that it will come together pretty quickly once I know what I will be writing about. I’ll guess we’ll find out, won’t we?
When I’m working on a writing project, or any creative project for that matter, before I dive in to the actual writing or producing, I create a one-sheet (which may end up being two or three pages, but no matter). The purpose of this document is to clearly and succinctly present or pitch a concept. In the case of my WIP, I wrote this one-sheet to pitch my book idea to my agent. I wanted her to very quickly get what the book was about, understand who the ideal reader is, see how the subject matter will be presented, and have a sense of where it fits into the marketplace.
Before I create any one-sheet, I’ve usually done a fair amount of research and brainstorming, so I’ve got pages of bullet-pointed lists and mind maps about my goals, my personal why, how I want it to impact / change people, the format / approach, and so on to work from.
Once I’ve done this pre-work, I’m ready to create the one-sheet. I always start the same way, which is by creating a new document and plugging my headings in, for example: The Title, The Concept, The Audience, The Approach, the Competitive Marketplace. Then I do the (in my case painstaking) work to flesh out each section, going through my pre-work and pulling out key phrases and ideas and plugging them into the document, trying to be as concise and clear as possible. I look at these one-sheets as pitch sheets… every word counts and I want my idea to be instantly gettable. Even better, I’ll come up with a strong title and elevator pitch that summarizes my idea and could be easily shared with people who show interest in the project.
After I’ve got a draft of this completed (which for me involves lots of groaning, getting up and moving around, taking “play” breaks, and then diving back in), I go through several rounds of edits to continue to tweak and finesse it, making sure every word has a purpose.
I honestly dread writing these, BUT when I force myself to sit my butt down and do the work, it always comes together. And then I have a powerful document that is not only shareable with others but serves as my own guidepost / mission statement for the project as I move forward.
* WRITING GOALS FOR THE COMING WEEK *
I’m going on holiday in the middle of next week, so this week I’m keeping it simple and straightforward. I know if I add anything else to this list, it’s more than likely not going to happen.
- Begin draft of one sample chapter for work-in-progress
- Write a blog post for author community, continuing my behind-the-scenes look at Doable
* * *
I hope you enjoyed this installment of Writer Unplugged! If you aren’t already on my email list, I encourage you to sign up below so you don’t miss any of the series!