Last week I talked about the five R’s and rediscovering the writing joy. Any luck with that? Any news to share?
Once you find your joy, then you get to plan it! I know, I get way too excited about plans. But imagine the ideas! The goals! The potential! I’m all a-tingle.
The Five W’s of Planning the Writing Joy:
1. What type of second draft will you do? Will you finish the story you couldn’t wrap up in one month? Go back to fill in plot holes? Add description to the scenes? Cut the unnecessary scenes? Use research to make the story more realistic? Round out your characters? All the above? Personally, I’ll be focusing on the big picture issues, especially plot holes and mythology. I’ll do my best to ignore the little details on the word/sentence/paragraph level. Why waste time on something I may cut later? I’ll save the details for my third draft. But everyone writes differently, so find what works for you!
2. Where will you make your changes? Will you print the manuscript and mark it up with red pen? This way, you could carry it with you and work on it in your spare time. Or will you edit directly on your computer? I like the idea of seeing the story on paper, but I cringe at the waste of paper and ink. So I’ll do my second draft on my laptop, which I can still take with me to most places. Maybe I’ll print out the manuscript for the third or fourth draft, when the paper makes it easier to see the details.
3. When will you work? I talked about this briefly last week—the importance of sacrificing to make time for writing. If you have a set schedule, it’s easier to stick to than relying on “whenever I have time.” Right now, my plan for January is to write 9:00 to 12:00 every week night, plus the times when my son is at preschool. If I have time to write on weekends, that’s a bonus. But I’ll give myself permission to use weekends to catch up on other things or relax with my family. I’ll be sacrificing most of my Internet and reading time to write three hours every week night; I won’t have as much time for emails, blogging, and Facebook. And I’ll have to multitask every day to get the household chores done quickly. If you’re a student, you may have homework during the week and more free time during the weekend. Maybe you can find time to write Saturday and Sunday afternoons. If you’re on a block schedule, you may have slow days with less homework—use those days for writing. Don’t feel pressured to write everyday; just fit in what you can.
4. Who will help you? You may think you’re alone, but you’re not. Obviously, no one can do the second draft but you. But you can recruit critique partners, family, and friends to be your cheerleaders and encourage you when you struggle. Stuck on a plot issue? Discuss it with someone. Often the very act of talking can create a solution. Or throw a huge brainstorming session with snacks and hot cocoa . . . whatever it takes. Don’t make writing harder than it already is by going it alone.
5. Why should you revise? Because your story needs it. I’m not the only advocate for revision. I just read this post which confirms the importance of revising. Or you could ask any published author in the history of the world. You know, revision is kind of essential—no way around it!
Now you have the tools—go forth and plan! Write down your plans in a notebook or on a Post-It or wherever. Then come back here and share them with us! And let me know if you have questions!