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February 17, 2015

Late Winter: A Good Time for Setting Goals (and Cave-Dwelling)

My summer freckles have faded long ago, the dark circles under my eyes are starting to take on an eerie cadaver-like tinge, and my only indicator of what the weather is like is how much I have to crank up the heat. Why? Because I'm in the thick of my own little replay of National Novel Writing Month and have sequestered myself in order to extract a novel from my brain before March 15th.

This is insane. Normal people don't do things like this, right?

That's what I thought, too, until I learned about the strict schedules some genre fiction (looking at you, romance) authors stick to all the time. These authors lay the groundwork for a story, flesh out that idea with a detailed outline, and then crank out their product in a month or less. They spend a few days to a week revising and editing, send it off to an editor at their publishing house, and start the process all over again while they wait for editorial corrections and galley copies to return to them. The most impressive thing about that kind of approach to writing is that those authors don't seem to be complaining about how difficult it is--they just do it.

I've given this a lot of consideration over the past few weeks and I think that the "I can do it" versus the "I can't do it" mentality is only one small cog in the big machine of writing progress. I think a larger factor in whether or not a book gets written depends on that author's defined goals.


Why in hell would I want to impose this kind of deadline on myself just as Spring Fever is starting to set in? Because I know that if I don't do it now, it will only be harder to do it later. My gut tells me that in order to truly focus on that memoir project I told you about, I have to first finish telling the story I already started or else it will pull and nag at my brain until I do.

Besides, I owe it to the characters to get them out of the mess I put them in.

Are you using the last bits of winter to push you through a writing project? Think it might be something that will help you to meet your own goals? I want to hear about it!

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