I spent the better part of ten years not working on my manuscript. This isn't something I'm particularly happy about, but there's no way to change it now. I wasted a lot of time getting to this stage and now I'm playing against the clock.
But I've realized that the "clock" is self-imposed. If I don't reach my deadline for publishing, who have I let down? My legion of fans? My agent? My mother? (OK, that one maybe) Like so many creative types out there, I'm plagued by the "if only" of the situation.
- If only I had done X, then Y would be easier right now
It's the same concept as sitting at a poker table, hand already folded, and watching the card you needed arrive on the river (we're playing Texas Hold'em in this simile). You can't bet on what's already been folded, and you can't kick yourself over what is already done.
When I finally decided to sit down and write what is now The Gray Wars (working title) Volume One, I did set myself a deadline. In all honesty, I missed that deadline. But what I did get was a first draft of the first part of a trilogy, which was not what I expected at all. Am I happy with it? Hell yes, it is an accomplishment I worked long and hard to achieve. Step two, editing, has been another story altogether.
So what nuggets of wisdom can I impart on you, the struggling writer / my mother who reads this to support her son?
Put yourself on the spot.
When I wanted to write my manuscript under a deadline, I knew that I was the worst timekeeper of all. But my friends, they can be anal about that sort of thing. So I made a FaceBook group, put an end date, and made them my editors. I told them to be harsh, to criticize my habits and to make my life hell if I didn't sit down, shut up and write. And you know what? It worked.
In writing this blog, I hope that I can lock down some of my process for future writers. I don't know if any of it will be helpful, but I have a tremendous ego and that's a start.
Now, if you'll excuse me, there's a slice of banana bread in the kitchen with my name on it.