It occurred to me that one of the most helpful things I could do as part of my mission to encourage writers and would-be authors to believe in their stories, commit to their craft, and put themselves out there would be do put my money where my mouth is.
Enter: WRITER UNPLUGGED.
I’ve heard from many readers of this blog about the kinds of information and insight that would be the most useful, and a handful of common themes emerged:
- How I juggle a variety of writing projects at the same time
- How I find time to write when I have so many other things on my plate
- How I set personal deadlines, and more importantly, stick to them
- How I move from idea to completed project
- How I know when a project is “done” or “ready”
So, I’ve decided to pull back the curtain and expose my writing life and process.
Of course, as is true with every creative process, there’s a part of writing that is intangible…it can be hard to describe being in the flow or where sparks of inspiration come from. But the truth is, much of what makes writing work for me is the way I plan, organize, research, and structure my projects.
Years ago I had the pleasure of interviewing screenwriter Susannah Grant, who wrote the Academy Award-winning screenplay for Erin Brokovich. I asked her what made the difference between someone who wants to be a screenwriter and someone who actually does it, and she said this:
“A lot of people say they’re screenwriters, but they don’t ever get around to finishing something. Everybody can do it, but the writers are the ones who actually do.”
This rings true for me. A lot of my writing process is about prioritizing, scheduling, committing, and finding ways to be accountable. It’s about doing, even when it’s not always easy or convenient. It’s about picking my way through the weeds, even when they’re way over my head, because I know there’s an opening somewhere down the path.
So, here’s my plan.
Each week I’m going to write about my writing process. I’ll tell you what worked, what was hard, where I got hung up, and how things came together. Essentially I’ll be keeping a journal of my writing life and sharing it with you. My hope is that you’ll see some of your own process in reading about my messy one and that you’ll get some helpful strategies that you can apply to your own projects. I hope reading this series encourages you to make headway on your own writing. After all…we’re all in this together.
I have a selfish goal here, too.
There’s a book in me that I know I HAVE to write, but I’m struggling to get started. In fact, in my mind I’ve been “working” on this book for more than 8 months, but I don’t have much to show for it, save for a bunch of scattered notes in Scrivener. Frankly, this book scares the crap out of me because it’s unlike anything I’ve ever written before and I feel like I don’t even know where to begin. It’s personal, it’s big, and it’s overwhelming. But I’m tired of waiting. I want to get this book out into the world already.
With that goal in mind, I’m setting a personal deadline of having a either a manuscript, a book proposal, or both, ready to share with my agent no later than May 31, 2015.
I’m not sure what I’ll need to pitch the book because I don’t know exactly what the book is yet. But I’ll be sharing each step of my process to reaching this goal with you. And I give you my word… I will do it! (Now I have to, right?)
Some of the other writing projects on my plate that I’ll be blogging about include:
- Working on building up my author platform and email list
- Promoting the launch of my new book for teen girls in January, as well as 2 updated edition releases
- Repurposing and developing new content for my author blog
So, that’s the plan. Thank you for being a part of this writing adventure/challenge/journey. If you aren’t already on my list, I encourage you to sign up below so you don’t miss any of the series!
PS. A special shout out to Tim Grahl, author and book marketing guru extraordinaire, who inspired this series. Check out Tim’s new series Six Months to a Published Novel here!
Deborah, thanks so much for starting this series! I’m excited to follow along as you reach your May 15th deadline. The timing of this couldn’t be better for me. I finished the first draft for a YA novel last spring. I’m now editing it, and I badly need a concrete deadline. I’ve written several drafts for novels before, and they are languishing in my file cabinet. I’m committed to not repeating that scenario this time around! I will finish this and get it out into the world. So, like you, I’m going to announce my own personal deadline here: I will have a completed manuscript by Dec. 15, 2014. There. Did it. Okay… Phew. Thank you! I look forward to reading more from you and others, and to continuing to share here myself. Best of luck, Susan
Oh, I love that you threw it out there, Susan!! I’m cheering you on and can’t wait to read your YA novel!