One thing I'm really scared of is becoming one of those people who call themselves writers but aren't. They think about their stories. They read, sometimes. They have ideas they just know are fantastic. And then they don't write them. They spend their time drinking coffee and imagining themselves writing. Believe me, there are a lot of people like this. It's easy to slip into becoming one of them.
The last several weeks -- minus the coffee part -- this has been me. I've been busy, I've been exhausted. I've been making excuses. But I've realized that the semester isn't going to clear up at any point. I've got three performance weekends, a tech weekend, and lots of daily runthroughs in the next month for theater. I have a low but steady stream of homework. I have other projects and assignments. It is time to work around these things instead of just struggling against them.
My new goal is to have my novel in a form I would like to show an agent or an editor by the end of this semester. I have a little over a month. This is doable. Now I'm going to put my general plan here on the Internet so I feel like I'm being held accountable. (Any of you readers, feel free to heckle me about my progress as necessary.)
1 - Finish the final two chapters. I have a Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday morning I can spend on it this week. So, this part needs to be done by this Saturday, the 13th.
2 - Readthrough/compile a list of things to fix -- I've been working on this already. A readthrough will help me focus and assess the lists I already have. My deadline for this is Tuesday the 16th.
3 - Go over feedback. During January, two of my writing friends read the first ten chapters and made suggestions. Receiving such detailed feedback on my personal writing for the first time was a terrifying experience, and I was glad that I picked the right people to do it. They made lots of great observations that let me see both the good and bad parts of the story. I need to look at those suggestions and consider their implications in detail. (Those two friends who gave me feedback, I would be delighted to provide you with any baked good you wish.) Deadline: Thursday, the 18th.
4 - Develop an action plan. This already is one, but once I've decided what exactly I need to change/edit, I'll be able to establish smaller writing goals. As it is, I'd like the action plan to be ready Saturday, the 20th.
5 - Carry it out and get more feedback. My current plan for this is to give the sections I feel need the most help to writers and friends and ask for feedback. If people are interested in seeing the book as a whole and have the time to make edits, I'll be happy to give it. This process of reading and sharing I hope to have finished by Saturday, April 11th. The semester ends on the 17th. I have a week of extra cushioning.
Some of this isn't very specific, but I need to dive back into the story to see what it really needs. I'll probably have to make minor adjustments to the schedule, but the goal will remain the end of the semester unless I develop a serious illness and/or die.
How will this go? I have no idea. Is this process going to work? We'll see. If, through experience or otherwise, you have any ideas on how to improve my editing plan, please let me know. If you know me and are interested in providing feedback, I'll keep you in mind. To those willing to offer help, and those who've already helped me, thank you. My novel means a lot to me, and I'm grateful to all who believe I can finish it.
Now... time to finish it.