January 1st (Day 1/365). One Minute.
January 2nd (Day 2/365). Two Minutes.
December 31st (Day 365/365). 6.083 Hours.
For this year, my plan was to do one minute of editing per day of the year for all 365 days. Here are the benefits to my plan so far:
- Easy to begin. Having two babies in a row has made it easy for me to say I don’t have time for my writing. But only expecting 1 minute from myself was difficult to deny. As the minutes build, it feels very natural and not overwhelming.
- Encourages me to finish editing early. As the year progresses and the minutes increase, I expect I would have to not sleep in order to complete my goal. Instead, I cheat by doing more than my allotted minutes in the hopes of readying my manuscript before the end of the year.
- Reminds me to think about editing as a daily task. It’s not about whether I’m going to edit, it’s about how long I will edit for. It’s not optional. Sure, some days I don’t put in the time equal to the day of the year. However any time is better than getting off track and ignoring my novel.
I have shared my goal with my writing buddy, and his encouragement has also helped me stay on track. I love being able to honestly tell him I am keeping my commitment on this.
How tenable would something like this be to you? Would you prefer it a different way?
When you write, you notice other writers. You enjoy friendships with other readers. You may be in a writers group. When you write, these relationships are important because you’re going to seek out people to read your works in progress.
Generally you can ask for certain things before people read to critique. Some people ask for very detailed suggestions such as comma placements and misspelled words. Some don’t have any idea what they hope to get by sharing. Here is what I have learned about what I want from critiquers:
- Give me a variety of readers. Don’t just seek out other writers like you. If the readers like it despite not liking the genre, you can feel good.
- Tell me how you feel about the protagonist. If readers hate the person leading the story, they may not care about reading to the end.
- Give me a guess on what happens next. When a critiquer reads just a piece of your work, it is a great opportunity for you to see if you are misleading your audience enough or if the plot is too obvious.
- Tell me what strikes you the most. I’m curious what impressions critiquers are left with. I want to know what the work leaves people with, or what they feel is missing.
Taking time to let people read your work is a welcome break from creating and editing it on your own. Getting critiqued can point out flaws you might be too close up to see. Hearing others’ perspectives on the story can help you to work on clarifying things for your audience. There is no critique you must take, so why not listen with an open mind?
What is important to you from fellow critiquers?
One day a member of my writers group shared a sad story about a beloved pet. The symptoms she experienced, shared by many humans and for unknown reasons, seemed like an intriguing story idea to me.
My fellow writer and I began to flesh it out. “What ifs” sprung up, setting molded around it, and we each envisioned a character from which to view our fictional world. We decided to co-write a story. This is what I have learned about the process so far:
- You must agree on how quickly you want the story to come together. In our case, we are not rushing each other in any way. We both have other projects going on and this story is one we can come back to only when we choose to.
- You must agree on how much of the story each writer contributes. In our case, we are taking turns with chapters.
- You must be flexible. One new idea can mean a lot of work to edit what has already been written. When we agree to go a different way with the story, we must both go back to keep the information consistent.
I’ve enjoyed seeing our story come together from two writers with very different styles and ideas. This might be a long-term work but we will both be proud when it is complete.
What have your experiences been with co-authoring?
When I found out I had a chance to visit Indiana, I needed to look on the map to see how to get there. I began to research fun things to do. For this I use Pinterest and http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/.
I enjoyed my time there, including a trip to a not-for-profit coffee shop where I was able to sit and catch up on my journals.
Now that I know I will be moving to this state, there are other things I would like to find out. How does cost of living compare, for example? If I could visit again I would go to the local library, the local gym, and the local grocery store. Online I have researched things like Meetup groups (including writers’ groups) available to me to join. I’ve added Parks and Recreation newsletters to my e-mail subscriptions. So far things look promising.
What considerations do you make when moving to a new place?