Tuesday, 28 August 2007

The Grand Plan

Out celebrating a friend’s amazing new job, conversation turned to me and what I am doing, hopefully not out of the fear that one day they will all swoosh past me in posh cars as I ready my cardboard box for the night. Said friend is a brilliant project manager, and she had a gleam in her eye that usually appears at the start of a project or when she spies a bottle of champagne at the end of a long day.

“Do you want me to nag you?” she asked me seriously, and considering she is brilliant at her job, I hastily agreed. As if by magic, a pad and pen appeared and she swiftly jotted down things I should be doing. And these are as follows:

• Define your working week – at least two days are ONLY for writing
• 5 day week: Monday – Friday ONLY
• 2 days writing main novel
• 1 day editing (chose Friday)
• 2 days children’s books (if not busy on main idea)
• Split writing into 2 sessions (eg 7 hour day, 3 hours a time writing)
• Write a Chapter Plan

Now, she has hit the nail on the head – I write a few pages and then spend what feels like sixty days editing those down until I have roughly a sentence. No wonder I feel like I am getting nowhere fast. Editing yourself is absolutely awful. I am either over-critical or far too lenient. So I am going to spend one day a week editing, and the rest of the time forging onwards.

Strange as it may seem, although I know where everything is going, I don’t have a detailed chapter plan for any of the ideas, so that is what I am working on today, and it is surprisingly fun. I think the whole point is to find a structure to work to, I need to feel like this is an academic exercise almost, and to stop splashing around. My best time to work, for example, is between 2 and 10pm, as I seem to be able to rocket on in those hours. Start me off at 8am and watch as I spend all morning /day faffing – reading, checking emails, poodling off to make coffee or tidy up.
So this is now The Grand Plan – I hope it works.

Also had a quick check of the budget…While it is alarming to see your bank account spiral (alarming, she says, who am I kidding!), I am actually two grand up on where I thought I would be at this point. This is good, as I have already been through the world’s worst month (July) and the next one that is due to be horrible is December, so possibly I have a little longer than I first thought. I might have until February, which will be a good thing, if I can just live off Value Beans at some point in the future (sighs).

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