It’s early morning here and I’m awake as usual. I’ve eaten breakfast and there’s a pot of coffee waiting on me, but I can’t seem to remove myself from this cozy spot on the couch. Doing so means I’d inevitably disturb Omar who is lounging quietly beside me. I have uninterrupted quiet time that I could be using to write.
But I’m not.
The words aren’t coming.
My brain is just sitting here waiting for inspiration.
All because I don’t have a plan.
I’m the type of person that could easily get caught up in planning. In fact, I’m the type of person that does get easily caught up in planning. I even over plan. How many times have I written down a chapter plan for my latest novel? Yeah…a bunch of times. I even wrote a new chapter plan yesterday on my lunch break.
It’s possible planning is my way of avoiding the actual work and emotional strain that is writing.
I read somewhere one that in order to plan for productive writing time, one should write down just a phrase or two about the topic he or she wants to write.
The night of the storm
Cecil’s birthday celebration
The fight between character one and character two
Seems simple enough, right?
And it is. I’ve used this technique and typed out five thousand words in a morning episode of writing.
Not today though.
Even though I wrote out my (new) chapter plan yesterday, I’m sitting here without a word being written on my novel. It’s like I don’t even have a “pl” for my plan. –One of Phoebe’s best lines, by the way.
Probably it would have been helpful if I’d brought the notebook in which the new chapter plan is written into the living room with me this morning. I didn’t. It’s tucked safely away in my bag in my room where my husband is getting an extra hour of sleep.
I’ll have to try and do something from memory. Let’s see if I can remember what I wrote.
Goal: Get a full draft of the WIP completed –a whole start to finish.
Objective 1: Find and replace “Martha” with “Rhoda”
Martha is Jack’s wife. She informed me her name is Rhoda a few weeks ago and I have yet to help her with the equivalent of a novel name change.
Okay. I’ll do that. Find and replace.
Done. Martha’s name has officially been changed to Rhoda.
As I was doing my find and replace, I went through each consecutive chapter and learned that I’m missing some. There is no chapter two, no chapter thirteen.
That can’t be good.
Now that hubby is awake, I can snatch up my notebook and get objective 2 in place –put all written chapters in one word document and put chapter header/prompt placeholders in place for the chapters that haven’t been written. –Or for the chapters that are missing…like that elusive chapter two.
And done. I retrieved my notebook with the handwritten plan and I’ve got all twenty-six chapters in one document –either written or with a placeholder heading.
According to the notebook, objective 3 is to: fill in all placeholder chapters with content.
There are several of those, making this objective rather daunting. So I’m going to break it down into one placeholder at a time. I just did a search on the word “chapter” so that I can see which one needs work first and got to chapter five. It’s the one where Lee gets told his diagnosis. I know I have a draft of that somewhere.
So my lunch time objective will be to: locate that information and plug it into chapter five.
24-hour later update: During lunch yesterday, not only did I find that missing content and plug it into chapter five, I also found the missing content for several other chapters and plugged all of it into the respective chapters.
By the time my one hour lunch was over, I had one word document with either a chapter header or a chapter header with words in it for ALL TWENTY-SIX CHAPTERS of SOS! I was ecstatic!
Of course there was no one in the office who understood the magnitude of what I’d accomplished, so I couldn’t celebrate properly, but I’d done what I’d set out to do and in way less time than I thought it was going to take!
There is still much to be done on this novel to get a full first draft complete. Following that, there will be even more work to get it in decent shape for beta readers and presenting to the academic board as this project is my thesis for grad school. Yikes. The thought is daunting!
At least I’ll have this post to look back on when it’s time to develop yet another plan to get this book written and ready for the public.
What are you working on these days? Do you have a pla?