Friday, February 29, 2008

Reinventing the Wheel

When writers sit down to write a book, the make sure their desk is clean, they have paper in thier printer, their pencils are sharpened, they have blank notebooks to jot down their ideas. They organize their desk and their office so they have a good place to write. Well, most of us do. Not every writer writes the same way. In fact, many times I don't even write in my office. I find a comfortable spot on my sofa where my cat and dog can curl up next to me, put my MP3 player on "soundtrack" mode and just write.

Everyone organizes their writing space different. Some people can only write in the same place or time of the day. I, on the otherhand, can write anywhere, at any time of the day as long as my kids aren't around. When my kids are around, I'm mom and there is just no way of shutting that off. Whether it's Dunkin Donuts or at 40,000 feet on an airplane, I can write just about anywhere. Regardless of how or where you write, one of the most important things that many writers fail to do is organize their writing time. I don't write fiction every day. I'm a freelance writer though so I do write something every day. My writing might be about foreclosures or health and nutrition instead of the characters that follow me everywhere I go. But I do try to set aside a certain amount of time to write both my fiction and my freelance writing. Organizing my time keeps me on track when I have a deadline.

Let me say that I'm a huge fan of the phrase, "Don't reinvent the wheel." If someone else has a brilliant idea about how to do something fast and efficiently, I'm all ears. One of the things that I find useful is plotting out a log of my projected daily progress and my actual progress with a manuscript tracker. Kresley Cole had a manuscript that she'd shared with a few writers a few years ago and I use that with every manuscript. I do know that some writing programs, like WriteWay Pro, have built in manuscript trackers as well. What I find great about these trackers is that although I don't write every day, the tracker tracks my progress based on every day.

Sounds nuts? Not really. While it's great for some people to see daily progress, I'm a weekly goal girl. So as long as I'm at my goal by the end of the week, it doesn't matter if I've written 2 pages a day or 14 pages per week or however many pages I need to finish the book on time. I've used this for the last 6 books I've published and it's worked great to keep me on deadline. Another way of tracking your writing and keeping organized is to use programs such as the calendar function in Microsoft Outlook. While you have to keep track of your pages, you can plot out your weekly goals and check them off on your to-do list at the end of the week.

My motto is, whatever works. If you're fabulous at organizing everything in your head and magically writing your manuscript so you're on track, keep it to yourself. I'll only be green with envy. No, seriously, drop me a line or comment on the board so you can share your process with someone else. After all, there's no need for everyone to reinvent the wheel.

And while I'm here posting on the last day of February, make sure you take a moment to check out the fabulous lineup of Love Inspired Suspense books for March from our Craftie Ladies of Suspense group.

Until next week, many blessings to you.

1 comment:

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Lisa,
Loved your comments about the clean desk. Unfortunately, mine is stacked high with papers that need to be filed. I'm visual and like everything at my fingertips! But I do need to sort and file soon or I'll never find my computer! :)