Tag Archives: time management

How the heck do you write all this stuff?

Last week I shared my writerly “To Do” list, which included:

  1. 1 novel about to release
  2. One in developmental (publisher) edits
  3. Two completed novels just sitting in my computer
  4. Four first drafts
  5. One 95% complete work in progress
  6. Five 5000-10000 word outlines of soon to be written novels

I discussed a little about how I ended up having so many “almost complete” books, and I wanted to discuss the madness of my writing process a little.

My MO used to be:

  1. Write a first draft
  2. Leave #1 to simmer while I write a first draft of something else or edit something else
  3. If I edited, send completed piece out to query. If I wrote, let that one simmer.
  4. Go back to draft in #1 and start editing
  5. Rinse, repeat.

Basically, I liked to distance myself from something before I started editing. It worked well for me for quite a few years, until I suddenly found myself with three contracted novels to write, edit, submit (on time) and publish/promote an all that good stuff.

While writing the series has been a blast, it’s given me WAAAAY to much “simmering” time on all the other projects that I have. And when I had some “down time” from FIRE IN THE WOODS, all I wanted to do was start something new in a completely different world. THAT’S why I am 95% through with a novel that I just love the stinking alien pants off of. (Does that even make sense? Aww, who cares?)

So, will I ever get back to all those first drafts?

I sure hope so, since each of them adds up to a significant hunk of writing time, and a story that meant a lot to me.

But another thing that I am very aware of, is that I learn something every time I write a book. Also, my style changes exponentially.

I am a hugely different author now than I was just a few years ago. Part of me is AFRAID to go back to those works, because I know I will not be as happy with them as I was when I wrote them.

So what is really on tap after I finish book three?

My #1 goal is to finish and submit the novel that is currently 95% done. I think the timing is perfect for that one, and I know Fire in the Woods fans will just love it.

I have one more publisher project that I will probably have to work on soon after that is done.

Then the next project after that will be the Adult Science Fiction Horror that is in first draft form.

Why that one?

Well, for one thing, it is one of the later things I’ve written, so I hope it is in the best shape. Also, I think it is wildly original. The idea still makes me want to read it.

After that is done, yes, I will probably start something new, because I don’t like to do that much editing back to back. I prefer to switch things off once in a while.

The best-plans are meant to be broken

I’m smiling as I write this. Plans are made to be broken. Especially in publishing. Because all that would have to happen to completely blow this plan out of the water would be for one more title to get published. (Which, of course, would be great.)

Come to think of it, I really HOPE that my plans get ruined again this year.

 

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You can find Fire in the Woods at all these awesome bookish places!

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Why aren’t you querying those finished novels?

A few days ago I shared a list of all my upcoming projects on social media. It looked something like this:

Here’s what’s coming down the pike:

  • Ashes in the Sky {Fire in the Woods #2} (In production Release date March 1)
  • Fire in the Woods #3 (Contracted: In developmental edits. Release date TBD)
  • YA Science Fiction (95% complete Work in Progress)
  • Adult Contemporary Science Fiction (Aliens) Mystery/Horror (First draft complete)
  • Adult Paranormal (Shifters) novel written in serial (Uncontracted: Number one complete)
  • YA Dystopian Romance (Uncontracted, Complete)
  • YA Space Opera – 8 book series (First draft complete)
  • Middle Grade Contemporary Adventure (First draft complete)
  • Hard Sci Fi Space Opera three book series (First Draft of all three books complete)

 

Outlined concepts prepped, outlined, and ready to be written:

  1. Adult/New Adult Fantasy-Medieval setting
  2. YA Contemporary Science Fiction (Aliens)
  3. Adult/YA Shifter (Dragons) First chapter written
  4. YA Time Travel (Aliens) First chapter written
  5. YA/New Adult Contemporary Science Fiction (Aliens)

 

A few people have asked why I have two complete novels, and four “First Draft complete” while it looks like I am currently working on something completely new.

Well, to be honest, I didn’t realize how many things I had partially finished until I created this list. For me, the fun of creating a story is the best part. I love starting a story, and torturing my heroes to the very end of the tale. So much fun!

Usually, by the time I finish a first draft, I’ve already outlined several new ideas that I came up with along the way. Some of these I take a few notes on, and then never go back to. But many, like the five above, get 7000-10000 word outlines, because I love the premise so much that I don’t want to lose even a single spec of the idea.

Unfortunately, I cannot type anywhere near as fast as my brain works, and that list of stories to write keeps getting longer.

Basically, when the time comes to write a new book, I just pick one from the list. Sounds easy. But sometimes there are several stories screaming at me, and even after I choose, a different story keeps me awake at night.

It all comes down to my writing process, which I love… but the business of publishing usually gets in the way of the fun part. That’s why I have so many first drafts right now.

When I finished this post, it was over 800 words long. I was going to talk about my writing process, but I’m going to leave that for my next post. I think this will explain some of the insanity of my current “too many almost-finished books” situation.

See you next time!

 

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Flames longFlames longFlames longFire in the Woods Cover

You can find Fire in the Woods at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound |

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Alien Lineup

Catch up with me on social media!

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The Art of Procrastination: Isn’t Writing Still Fun?

I did something for the first time the other day.  I procrastinated.

Now, I’m not talking about the laundry, or doing the dishes—I procrastinated about writing.

Editing to be more exact.

Believe it or not, I have NEVER procrastinated before when it had to do with writing.  Never Ever.  Writing was always my escape.  What better way to get away from the world than with characters that I love.

So here I am, vacuuming, and actually shaving the dog (which I had been procrastinating over for three months.)  Now, I’m not talking about a little procrastination.  This dog was on the grooming table for a full two hours straight.  (No, she does not look like the same dog anymore.)

And it was all because I didn’t want to edit.  So, why is that?

I think it is because I have a list of things from the publisher to make sure that are not in my novel.  I think it is because I need to dig in and perfect it.  But wasn’t it perfect already?

Well yes, and no.  There’s nothing like pasting your novel into a manuscript analyzer if you want to make yourself run and hide.

By now, yes, I have started editing.  I am fixing and sculpting, and despite my initial hesitation, LAST WINTER RED is actually getting better.

Hmmmm.  Maybe these publishers actually know what they are talking about 🙂

Hello. Let me introduce myself. I’m an Idiot.

Hello.  Let me introduce myself.

I am an Idiot.

The other day, as some of you noticed, I posted my Monday night February 13th Blog post “Lesson 27” in the normal time-frame.

Nothing new.  I try to be punctual.

This time, though, I tried to jump the gun and get it out before dinner.  (I’d prepared it the day before)

As I pressed the magic “publish” button, my computer hiccupped, I lost internet, and I also lost my post.  “Oh no!  That took me hours!”  It was gone.  Just gone.  It wasn’t even in my drafts anymore.  “Ugh!”

I grumbled, and sat down to dinner.  After doing the dishes, I opened up my Blog, praying it would be there.  Nope.  Still gone.  My dog sat there sadly, knowing it was her grooming time.  “Sorry Chloe, Mommy needs to figure this out.”

I opened my dashboard trying to find the draft.  It had to be there, right?  Nope.  Gone.  Chloe whined.  I patted her on the head.

When I glance back at the screen, I saw that two people had commented on the missing post.  “Commented on what?”  Could they see it?  I couldn’t see it.

After meddling with the system for a while, I finally found my post….  Back on January 28th.

Did I pull a Michael J. Fox?  Did I time travel?

No, but my computer did somehow.  Now I have no Blog post for Monday, and an extra one in the past, and a two-day-old post on my home page.  How the HECK-OLA does something like that happen?

Chloe barked, and I let her out.  Sorry, Chloe.

So, what the heck do I do?  Rather than having people jump to my Home page and not find a post, I copied Lesson Seven from its odd place in the “past”, and re-posted the same article in the “present”.  Now, I didn’t delete the time-travel post, because there were already comments on it, so there are two strings of comments on two different dates about exactly the same topic.

Whew!  Anyway… sorry about that double post.  And Sorry Chloe, for not getting to brush you.

I finished that post last weekend.  Added the art, made it pretty.  And then I left it in my “drafts” folder.  I’ve done this countless times before without any problems.  (When you have three kids, you need to write whenever you get a chance… and life doesn’t always agree with your blog schedule).

Anyway… while I was fiddling— copying the content of the time-travel post to re-publish it— I clicked on a button by mistake.  A date popped up… and my magic “publish” button changed to “Schedule”.

I am such an idiot.

I never knew that was there.  I could schedule my posts weeks in advance if I wanted to, and not have to stress about getting them done on time!  How many times had my posts popped up on Tuesday because I didn’t get a chance to hit that magic publish button until 11:00 PM, which is already the next day in WordPress time.  (Making my incredibly anal brain feel late.)

Let me repeat

Schedule your stinking posts, Jen.

Just in case I am not the only IDIOT in the world… there is a little schedule button over on the right when you compose your post.  Duh.

From now on, if my posts hit your email at 1:00 in the morning, it’s not because I have insomnia.  I’m just giving you a whole day of “reading joy” rather than waiting for me to get home from work, make dinner, clean up dinner, brush the dog, and tuck the kids in before I get a change to press that stupid publish button.

A schedule button

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