This week was all about the work-in-progress. In fact, my push to finish curating archived material was borderline obsessive. But more on that later. I’ll start by sharing how I did on my writing goals:
Writing Goals from Last Week:
- Devote a minimum of 6 hours on my WIP, specifically uploading more curated content into Scrivener — YES (more than 17 hours on my WIP this week!)
- Follow my week-by-week schedule for my author site leading up to my Doable launch — YES
- Complete 2 more book-related freebies for my author site / book launch — YES
Here’s what my Writing Tracking Log looked like for the week (CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE IT):
As I mentioned above, my energy around inputting material in Scrivener was a bit frenetic. I mean, I have just so very much content that I’m trying to get through—notes from meetings with therapists and parent coaches from when Asher was just a toddler through present day, notes from teachers, reports, emails. The stack is close to a foot high. And the thing is, as a fact-finder / research maven, poring through all of this is a critical part of my writing journey.
If I were to break down my writing process into a pie chart, it would looks something like this:
This is my writing process for most any project. For my current WIP, I completed the dreaming, scheming, and general brainstorming a few weeks ago. For me, that looked like journaling, talking with friends, making lists, and imagining. Though it is about 10% of the time I spend on a book, it usually happens over a long period of time, in this case, about 2 years.
But now, I’m squarely in the Researching phase. It’s in this phase that I generally do some or all of the following:
1. Read as much as I can on the subject I’m writing about—websites, blogs, newsletters, books, articles. I want to know what already exists that can inform my project.
2. Organize and collate all of my raw material. I go through every notebook I’ve written anything in that could be useful for my project, look at old emails, documents, articles, and anything else I may have already generated that I can access and potentially use.
3. Conduct informal “focus group” testing. For most books, I go out to my potential readers and ask them for feedback on my ideas. I might create a survey on Survey Monkey or maybe just post some questions in relevant list-serves. Other times I may reach out to people individually and talk through my concepts with them, especially if they are squarely in my target audience. I realize that I don’t know what I don’t know, so this kind of crowdsourcing of information is invaluable.
To be clear, I LOVE the researching phase. And if I’m not intentional, I could spent months and months here, going deeper and deeper (and potentially getting quite lost), so I put a cap on how much time I’m allowed to spend here. Since I’m going to Paris in less than one week for a solo creative / writing retreat, I’m using my departure date as a deadline, as my goal is to use that retreat to make sense of the research and emerge with some semblance of an outline as I march toward my December 6 goal of being ready to begin writing.
But back to the part about being frenzied. My office is in a state of disarray at the moment. The nearly foot-high stack of folders sits to the left of my keyboard, and piles of already sorted through material is loosely catalogued by year and/or school. Every time I walk into my office to do something, I see that pile of documents and I just want to get through it. So in the ten minutes it takes my son to brush his teeth or the fifteen minutes my casserole is cooking or the twenty minutes it takes my husband and son to get ready to head out the door, I’m stealing away upstairs, furiously typing, adding to my ridiculously long chronology in Scrivener.
I know myself, though. I know that I won’t be able to truly move on and focus properly on anything else, or any other project for that matter, until this stack is reduced to a tired folder sitting empty on my desk. So, I’m just going to keep plowing through.
Last week I said that I’d share more about my plans for promoting the publication of Doable, but I’m going to hold off until next week. I have a phone meeting with the publicist at Beyond Words Books tonight, and that conversation will likely inform my plan and help me get a better sense of what kind of support I can expect from them. So next week I’ll tell you about our conversation and lay out what my marketing efforts will entail. To be continued…
Writing Goals for the Coming Week:
- Devote a minimum of 10 hours on my WIP, specifically uploading more curated content into Scrivener. My goal is to have all of this material in so I can print out the chronology and bring with me on my upcoming solo writing retreat on November 20.
- Follow my week-by-week schedule for my author site leading up to my Doable launch.
- Complete 2 more book-related freebies for my author site / book launch
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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!