It has been nearly two years since my last post but the good news is that my first novel ‘Maltese Heart’ is only weeks away from being published!
More details to follow soon – can’t wait to check out the proof copy.
Mine was spent doing as much editing as I could. It seems like the first edit went quickly but now I’m doing my second edit and that is proving to be a lot more time consuming. At some point I will have to decide that enough is enough and let go of my book and release it into the wild. It is a much harder process than I thought it would be.
It seems that the festive season will soon be upon us all so I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and enjoy all the Christmas delights and the time spent with your families.
In the New Year I will be adding a lot more to my site, a lot more resources and articles covering a wide range of topics. Including how technological advances can be a boon to your writing workflow. I will also be working harder than ever on releasing my own book and on that illusive second novel. If there are any topics you feel strongly that you would like to see covered then please get in touch.
National Writing Month Starts in November. You can find lots of details at nanowrimo.org but to summarise the idea is write 50,000 words in the month of November. That figure sounds huge. It is a novel, though the average tends to be a little higher for most published works (but that is another post). I wish I could say that I knew I could write 50,000 words in a month but with a full time job, a family and a little bit of a social life the challenge seems daunting. I keep thinking that if I can squeeze in a couple of hours a day then it would be achievable. It would certainly be fun to try no matter how many words I actually manage to do!
Looking at my life at the moment I’m trying to figure out where to fit those two hours in and I don’t see a lot of options as I’d really like to get some sleep. Though I’ve been working on my second novel it has stalled, not through writers block but due to life getting in the way. This seems like a great opportunity to try and push it forward but I don’t feel confident enough to make such a bold step. Instead I’ve decided to tweak the challenge to my own personal circumstances and instead of it being a pure writing exercise I’m going to attempt to edit 50,000 words which would mean my first novel Maltese Heart would take a quantum leap forwards and be one step closer to being ready for publication.
In practical terms (writing or editing) that means 1,667 words a day. When you break it down a bit then it doesn’t seem quite as bad. Now I have one more day to prepare myself and the we shall see how things progress…
It seems that I’m struggling with one of the biggest battles many of us face… time management. Everyone who works, and tries to keep up with family life knows that it can seem nearly impossible to find time to do it all. Committing to not only writing but also editing a novel seems an impossible task. In many walks of life we have time management tools, from punching in at work to online time trackers. I’m looking into several ideas and systems that might help which in itself seems to consume a vast quantity of what little free time I have. If anyone has any good tools they can recommend for authors then I’d love to hear from you.
For now I’m getting by with the old fashioned pen and notebook, jotting down ideas, scratching editing notes on the manuscript and trying not to let everything overwhelm me. It can easily be disheartening when you only get through a few pages at a day, a week or even a month but we all know that this is a long term venture.
I hope that I can create more time so that I can dedicate myself to not only my writing and editing but also to this blog. I really want to build a valuable set of tools for authors so they can focus on what we love, the writing, and a little less on managing the chaos around us. Of course with all these things it is about finding what works for you and a little trial and error is inevitable. One thing that I have found is that I’m a lists person. I write a lot of them and enjoy crossing things off. In many ways setting small goals (such as writing an entry a month) provides a brief moment of triumph in what can be often feel like an unrewarding venture. In any new avenue of life there is a learning curve and I know that I still have a lot to learn.
I have been deep in the editing process but I am also working on my next novel which is what has led me to this post. I took a little time to explore some different writing software. At present I start in longhand (using a nice fountain pen and lots of paper) but then I transfer to Word. This kind of gives me a first edit as I transfer from one to the other. I tend to have a lot of notes as well so I thought I’d look into other options.
Then I found a few more specific writing packages which I thought I would try.
The first was Scrivener. I downloaded the PC version which by all accounts isn’t quite as advanced as the Mac one but I wanted to give it a try. The first thing that struck me was that there is a small learning curve. It has some nice features for storing notes but in the end I found that I didn’t really get to grips with it within the trial period (which is very generous). When the trial is over you can export your work or you can purchase it. For the price $40 it does seem to offer some value but on first looks it didn’t feel like a good fit for me.
My second piece of software was yWriter. It was very similar to Scrivener but slightly better on the PC. This one is (at the time of writing) freeware so there was not time limitations. For some reason I didn’t gel with it either. They both offer a lot more features to writers, for helping them sort ideas, rearrange scenes and generally keep track of progress. None of that seemed to help me. I considered a third application: Storybrook. That one has a free and a paid for version so I decided to skip testing it completely.
So there certainly are packages out there that can help organise your ideas but for me I find that I need nothing more than pen and paper (and of course a word processor of some sort or even a good old fashioned typewriter). Perhaps because my methods are too old fashioned. I like having notes on post its or scraps of paper, and the act of physically handling paper is somehow rewarding. My most important notes I type into a word processor and simply flick between documents when I need them. The ideas behind Scrivener and other software is certainly appealing and I appreciate the huge amount of effort the developers put into them but for now I will stick to the simplest methods of writing. That’s the important bit – to actually keep writing no matter how you do it.