Over the past few weeks, I’ve been a bit disappointed with all aspects of my writing.
Before getting an agent, I used to write at a steady clip, but would definitely pace myself, take breaks, and work on multiple projects at once. This resulted in me usually completing a manuscript (from draft one to polish) in a year and a half.
Which was totally fine…when writing was just a hobby.
Now that I have an agent and have my first book out on sub, I’m one step closer to my dream of becoming a traditionally published author.
But the thing is, I don’t feel any closer. I feel like I’m still stuck in my pre-agent hobby writing days.
I’m currently working through the second draft of my latest MG humor. It’s going very very slowly.
While this pace wouldn’t have bothered me in the past, it’s currently driving me nuts.
I should be cranking through these revisions so I can send it to my agent in a timely manner. I should be strategically planning my next projects. I should be strengthening my craft, connecting with other MG authors, and doing all the things to help when I do get published one day.
Instead, I’m over here lallygagging through revisions, as if writing is still my hobby and not what I really want it to be: my side hustle.
This past week, I gave it some deep thought and realized I needed to pull myself out of this funk. And to do that, I need to change my mindset.
I need to treat my writing as if it’s a true side hustle, one that will eventually bring in money and one that, fingers crossed, might one day turn into a full-time gig. (A girl can dream, right?)
In order to change my mindset, I have to do more than tell myself I’m going to change. I have to lay out a plan so I have concrete action steps.
So, here’s what I’m going to do:
#1 - Adjust my daily goal.
When I started this Year of Writing project, I gave myself a goal to write or revise at least one paragraph a day. During the first draft (or zero draft) phase of my book, this was a great goal! I loved seeing more and more words fill up those blank pages and complete the story.
Now that I’m revising, the goal…isn’t quite working.
What I’ve been finding in recent weeks is that when I revise a paragraph, a little celebration bell goes off in my head and signals that I’ve done the thing, so I should stop.
During my first draft, I was able to shut this bell off quite easily. During revisions, it’s been much, much harder.
Writing a paragraph from scratch may take me anywhere from 3-6 minutes. Revising that same paragraph may take me an hour.
Which is why after rewriting the same sentences over and over again, I want to listen to the ‘you did it!’ bell and step away from my laptop. The problem is, if I continued to do this, it would take an entire year just to make it through draft 2. And I want to hand in a super polished version to my agent by end of summer (polished for me = 5-6 drafts).
Yah, I need to pick up the pace.
I love revising, but it requires a lot more brain power for me than first drafting. I fully recognize this, so I need to change my motivation and therefore my daily goal.
From now until this draft 2 is complete, I will revise at least one page every day.
#2 - Cut back on blogging.
I know what you’re thinking. Check this off your to-do list!
Ha, you’re right.
The thing is, even on the weeks I don’t blog, I still think an awful lot about blogging, which drains my mental energy and takes my thoughts away from revisions.
Young, foolish me back in October of 2020 thought blogging every Sunday would be easy. Old, fatigued me now laughs at that notion.
Blogging takes a lot out of you!
There’s the time planning the content, writing the post, formatting it on your site, creating graphics, etc. Each time I blog, it takes typically 2-3 hours of my time. Which is 2-3 hours spent writing things that aren’t for my book.
I still want to blog and share my Year of Writing progress with y’all. I just need to scale back.
So now instead of attempting to blog every Sunday and doing a monthly wrap-up post, I’ll be blogging every other Sunday and doing a monthly wrap-up post every other month.
This will free up about 5-6 hours every month and allow me to devote that time into working on my book.
#3 - Write mornings and evenings.
A while back, I blogged about writing in the mornings and how that helped me feel and be more productive. You can read that post here.
With these second draft revisions, I’ve gotten into the bad habit of saving it for the very end of my day, which not only puts a crunch on the amount of time I could spend on revising, but by that hour, I’m usually so drained and sleepy that I have zero energy to revise more than a paragraph.
So, obviously, that habit needs to stop!
From here on out, on every day that I’m able to, I will revise in the mornings and the evenings.
These are my main steps at this point in the road. I could try other things, like telling my CP’s to give me fake deadlines or tell my partner to motivationally yell at me. But I know those won’t work, so I’m not going to bother trying them at this time.
I’m going to start with these and go from there.
I’ll let you know how it goes!
And now for some stats!
My mood regarding the past two weeks: I feel like I’m behind schedule. I’m happy with the revisions I’m doing, but am a bit disappointed for not having written more each day.
My mood for this coming week: Just because I was sluggish the last two weeks, doesn’t mean the next week needs to be like that. So let’s do it!
Other insights: Draft 2 revisions have always been the hardest for me to get through. And this time is no different. I know there’s a shiny, coherent book waiting on the other side; I just need to push through!
That's it for now. Til next time!