All or nothing
I’m usually an all or nothing woman. I took a week off work to design and hand paint fabric for my dining room curtains (they’re wonderful by the way); usually read a book in two days; love to see a number of films in one visit to the cinema; knitted a jumper recently in four days from scratch and have drafted a novel in a month at least once a year over the past four years. That’s what I love about my character and doing things compulsively in one go keeps me feeling alive and loving my life.
Little and often
When it comes to something that would take a longer time commitment to complete in one go that my current need for financial security (the day job) allows, I often struggle to find the space in my life to complete it. I need to find my equivalent of all or nothing in little chunks. Finally this year I’m hoping I’ve done that with my editing. If you’re a regular reader of mine, you’ll know I have five draft novels I want to complete, each one will take at least seven edits with a lot of research. Let alone the amount I need to learn about how to write and how I write.
This year I think I have finally found the answer. I’ve carved out an hour a day on work days and I’ve become the project manager of my novels. It’s my responsibility to coordinate the getting of the novels into shape. My other roles in this new project (I know I’ve been writing for over four years but humour me here please) are of editor and researcher. The researcher’s going to have to wait a few weeks but the editor role’s kicked in. The project manager gave me two weeks to do my first read through in three years which I not only completed but am onto page seventeen of the first edits. My target is ten or more pages of edits each time I do an hours work and that seems more than achievable.
When there’s something I want to do that competes with my work life I have to break it into manageable chunks that seem doable and not too overwhelming. One hour a day on week days to do ten pages of edits, that’s doable. ‘John’s holiday’, the novel I’m working on, is currently two hundred and twenty two pages long. That’s ten times twenty two point two which means my first edits should be typed in by fourteenth of Feb and if I spend some time on it over a weekend I could easily take a week or more off that date.
Now, let me do my hour of edits for today before the day job kicks in..