How’s It Going?

Now that we’re two weeks into 2009, how are you doing? Are you settling into the new year? Finding your comfort zone? Is it the same comfortable wallow you occupied last year, or have you expanded into new territory?

What about your goals and resolutions? Are they still viable after fourteen days? I hope so.

I’m excited about 2009. I’ve met my goals for the past two weeks in the areas of writing, promoting, and health. I’ve recognized some errors in judgment I made in 2008 and am determined to avoid them in this shiny new year.

How about you? Have you figured out where you fell down last year? Good. Now map a detour around that pot-hole for 2009.

A huge, gaping maw I fell into in 2008 was concentrating so exclusively on finding an agent and an appropriate placement for one book that I forgot to write new books. *sigh* SO not a good place for a writer to be. Writers write…and I’ve got weekly and monthly goals in place for 2009 to ensure that I remember that truth.

I’ve discovered two facts in the last fourteen days that will help me keep moving forward in 2009…and beyond:

One (as I mentioned last week) is that a writing spreadsheet is worth its weight in gold. I’m loving mine. Not too complicated, but providing enough analysis to keep me motivated.

The second is that plotting is good, as long as I don’t carry it too far. I used Holly Lisle’s Notecarding lesson on my current project and have found it to be an excellent road map. There’s enough information that I don’t have to wonder “What should I write today?” but not so much detail that I lose interest in the story. That’s the fine line a plotting process has to walk for me…to provide a road map, but leave me plenty of wiggle room so that when inspiration strikes I have permission to roam beyond the confines of the plan.

A few years ago I followed another system of plotting and discovered that I’m fully capable of plotting a novel to death. When I finished with the extremely detailed outline, I was no longer interested in writing the book. I already knew what was going to happen. The magic was gone.

I’m not suggesting the system was flawed, just that it wasn’t the right tool for me. For many writers, that level of detail would be a dream come true…just flesh out those scenes and voila! you have a novel! Unfortunately, I’m not one of them. For me it reduced the creative joy of the first draft to just one more revision pass. And revision is definitely NOT my favorite part of the process.

Yet another example of “the right way to write is the way that works for you.” You can study other authors’ processes, but be aware that just because they’re where you want to be (published) doesn’t mean their process is the one you should adopt. Examine their tools. If they happen to fit your hand, hooray! If they don’t, keep searching. Your tool set it out there, you just have to discover it!

Enjoy your week!

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