A rough draft, a pitch, and more

I’ve been silent lately. Mostly because I couldn’t justify spending time blogging when I had so many other things to do – mostly working on websites for clients and some writing.

In September, I was reading a lot of blogs from other writers, editors, book reviewers, etc. and saw recurring comments about how people always complain about not having time to read or write. I agree that it can be very hard to find the time to read/write, but really it’s about the motivation. I find it hard to motivate myself when an opening presents itself to me. There are times throughout the day that I feel motivated to write, but that’s usually the time my daughter wants me to read her a story or work on a puzzle. And let’s face it, my daughter is no competition for reading, writing, TV, friends, chocolate, tea, or any other distraction. She wins, hands down. So, I tend to tell myself I’ll write later. Sometimes I jot down a thought, but mostly I just try to remember the thought for later in the day. But then later in the day comes, and I’m exhausted. All I want to do is finish cleaning up and sit in front of the TV or read a book.

To this, some bloggers would say, get up early and write in the morning. I tried this for a while, but it backfired on me because my daughter has an uncanny ability to sense disturbances in the ether – she’d wake up when I woke up, no matter how quiet I tried to be.

Something hit me in September – there had to be more to life than working on a few projects and keeping up with my daughter. Although I enjoyed relaxing in front of the TV and reading at the end of the day, I felt guilty for not making time for my writing dreams. It weighed on me, so I decided to do something about it. I made a conscious effort to:

  • avoid facebook unless I needed to use it for work or something critical
  • stop spending time on my own blogs/sites/twitter
  • stop watching TV at the end of the day
  • ignore my RSS feeds
  • integrate internet browsing (reading mashable, techcrunch) with daytime activities, like reading an article while little J colors

Well, I’m happy to report this combination worked for me. I was able to keep up with projects and work on my outline throughout September and October, and it coincided perfectly with National Novel Writing Month, so on November 1st I started writing, and by November 30th, I had written a very rough draft, finishing at 50,074 words. When I say rough, I really mean rough. It needs a lot of work, but it has promise.

I did start editing the novel, but I hit a wall during December with holidays and family. I still haven’t picked up where I left off, but I feel hope and progress.

To help me get back into editing mode, I wrote and submitted a pitch for an online Pitchapalooza, offered to NaNoWriMo participants by The Book Doctors. I also bought The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published and am eager to start reading it.

So, after cutting extraneous, non-essential, time-sucking activities, I was able to:

  • concentrate on finishing client projects
  • finish an outline for my novel
  • write a rough draft of my novel
  • edit the first 20 pages of my novel
  • write and submit a pitch for my novel
  • lose five pounds (gotcha!)

I’m happy with the results so far, but I know I can’t slack and need to get back to the editing before another novel beckons to be outlined.