Readie - Writie - Sophie

Day 82: Jobs & processes

This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series Readie, Writie, Sophie

It’s been a bit of a disappointing day, today.

While I’ve been off work this week, I’ve spent my mornings looking after Sophie while my wife sleeps or rests or washes up and my afternoons writing.

However, today, after lunch, we went to the drop-in centre to have Sophie weighed (she’s down to the 19 percentile from a high of the 64th, but she’s healthy and happy and is putting on weight, so we’re not worried), then to Ikea to look for a mattress which, obviously, wouldn’t fit in the car.

When we got home, Fay cooked a lasagne and cake, both of which we’re taking to her Gran’s tomorrow, so I looked after Sophie again. Then it was dinner. After dinner, it was straight into Sophie’s bedtime routine, after which I did a little bit of reading and then went to tidy up the kitchen.

All of which meant I did not settle down to do my writing until about half nine, and I was tired, and grumpy, and didn’t want to do it.

This is a problem. When I’m back at work most nights, I will not get to start writing until nearly ten o clock. That does give me enough time to do the words I want to do if I’m happy to sleep five or six hours a night, rather than eight.

Despite the fact I know this isn’t healthy, I am, or I want to be.

What I need to remember, and what I keep forgetting, is this writing cannot be a hobby for me anymore, if I want to succeed. It has to be a second job. I have targets, and I need to hit them if I want to get the books out on time if I wanted to turn this from something resembling a hobby to a profession.

Mostly I am good at this, but I go through periods where my productivity is crap, and I can’t allow that anymore.

Because of this, I’ve started working on processes which will help me reduce the amount of time I spend on each book. The largest of these is streamlining my drafts.

Previously I would race through a first draft without any plan whatsoever. I’d then leave it a little while and return to a second draft which would almost always be a mess and would take serious cleanup. I’d re-write the whole thing.

The third draft would then be me re-writing the whole thing again, this time to fix style, rather than the story.

Now, however, I’m doing a little more planning going into each book, and I’ve changed my process so that each page I’m writing until I’m happy with, then I go over it again each time I’ve finished a chapter. I’m sorting story and style as I go.

What this means is successive drafts should be much quicker, and I should sav myself a bag full of time.

My big problem with this is the same as it has always been with any process I put in place. When I am not feeling it, I tell myself I still need to work, so I rush the words.

That’s what I did tonight. I rushed through a thousand words that I know I’m going to have to heavily revise, meaning I may well have been better off writing nothing tonight.

I have to improve my mindset when going into these. I have to sit down thinking, I know I’m a bit tired and a bit irritable, but I have to write this correctly, or there is no point.

I’m working more on the process all the time. I’m tightening my scene structure and I”m going to try to make these tight from the off to reduce writing time, and make sure there’s not so much cutting needed later on.

Key takeaways from today: keep working on that process, and treat this like a job where I cannot afford for my output to be sloppy.

Whether I manage it or not is another question.

Only one thousand words written tonight, on Bright Future. Doubt I’ll do any tomorrow or Saturday so let’s hope for a good Sunday!

Series Navigation<< Day 81: Trapped feet & freed wordsDay 85: Mattresses and eleven o clock stop >>
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International worst-selling author Mark Ayre has been writing since before he could pick up a pen (somehow). An author of mystery and suspense novels including the James Perry Series of mysteries.

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