Sunday, 28 May 2017

Plotting V Pantsing

In my last post, I talked about task management. I think it is very important to know what it is that you want to achieve in the time you set aside for writing. A lot of writers have a habit of procrastinating. I think a lot of this is not knowing what to do next, or what needs to be done to achieve a goal.

I thought I was a pantser - someone who heads into a project with minimal planning, and so I rarely knew what I needed to get done. I have since discovered that whilst I like the creativity that comes from writing a story without knowing the full details, that is where I fall down. I stop, not knowing where I am going. So I have decided to become a plotter.

It makes sense, to have a road map of where the story is going to end up. And it solves the issue of poor endings, something which I have personally struggled with. Plotting and planning is where creativity is set free, and mistakes are less costly in terms of time.

Previously I would have thought that planning was a waste of my writing time. In my opinion, I could only say I am writing if I am increasing a word count. But I have read that many successful authors spend weeks, if not months planning a story. I am reading 'The Crime Writer's Guide to Police Practice and Procedure'. When I bought it, I thought I would dip in and out as and when I needed. But I soon learned that I needed a more in depth knowledge on the subject, so committed to reading it fully before I do the plotting of the novel. Reading the book is research. And as a result, I have plenty of ideas, not just for the current project, but for others. My story will be much better in terms of substance and plot because I have decided to work out the details before hand. And now, I still see myself as writing, even if the word count is not increasing. If I am working towards the goal of getting the story written, it is worth it.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? And does it work for you?

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Chaos: Controlled

I have been so chaotic recently. To try and control the chaos I have had help from cleaners, mentors and the internet.

"I need to manage my time!" was what was going through my head pretty much constantly. I felt like I had too much to do, and not enough time in which to do it.
But I have realised that time management isn't the issue. Yes, I may still need a bit of help to get everything done, but as I sit in the time allocated for my writing, I often twiddle my thumbs.
Now, I know my other half (who thinks he is the boss) will not be impressed with this obvious lack of productivity. I can hear him in my head as I type saying 'Just Bloody Write!". And whilst that is probably the best advice anyone can give a writer, it isn't helpful if you are missing one thing.
It is management of a different thing all together. Task management.
I can do the writing. But when I come to the end, I lose all focus. I can lose focus in the middle, even in a short story. My task isn't being managed. I am not doing the things that need to be done to get the story to the best it can be. This might be planning scenes, or producing character arcs.
Another thing my husband-to-be will agree with is that I am too focussed on what others expect me to be doing. Whether that is 'getting a job' or hitting a word quota. Whilst I am not averse to these (okay, maybe the getting a job), to hit my word targets I need a visual map of where I am going.
I have to remember I am relatively new to all of this. One day, this may not be such an issue. But it is right now.
So from now, I am going to micro manage. I have all the time in the world today. My first task will be to write a task list!
How do you do it?

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

I am still here.

A very quick post.

Last weekend was my Hen Party. Sadly I didn't get my blog post ready to post in time. Friday and Saturday were spent preparing for Saturday night. Sunday and Monday were spent recovering :D

I had fun, and now I am back in the saddle. The post that was supposed to go up last week will go up next Sunday, and I think it is very apt!

Monday, 8 May 2017

To Write, or Not To Write.

Apologies in advance for being so late with this weeks blog post.

Life got in the way. I have the cleaning fairies in today but last week I had to concentrate on decluttering, and that is a mammoth task when you haven't done it since you moved in nearly 4 years ago! But today is the start of a new chapter.

I was considering whether I really should be a professional writer or a hobbyist. This came about after I was asked a question about why I write. My answer was true: Because I have to.

Writing for me is like breathing. I need to do it. If not, I start to suffocate and gasp for breath. But that doesn't mean it is something I (or anyone else in this sort of situation) should do professionally.

But the answer came when I said that I don't see the point in writing stories if not many people will read them. By that I meant that if I was a hobbyist, the most likely audience would be family and friends, if that. But professionally, the aim is a couple thousand (or millions!) would read my words.

So I came to realise that I am a professional. Or at least I aim to be.

And now we have the cleaners in. My other half said to me 'You've got cleaners, now write your book'. I guess I have no excuse now!