An important announcement

Yesterday, I was thinking about my writing life so far.

As I was pondering, it occurred to me that next year, I will have been working on Doorways for five years.

That’s half a decade of writing and tweaking.

I don’t think that it’s healthy to continue sitting on it, so next year, come hell or high water, I will start querying it. If no one’s interested, I will start preparing it for publication.

Either way, I’m not going to be thinking about this again this time next year.

In fact, I should probably put up a date by which I want to get the edits done, so I’m going to say… 30 June 2012.

That gives me six months to polish it to a shine.

Maybe that makes me insane, but I have to try. The longer I wait, the more I will postpone on taking action.

So… anyone else tried to edit on a deadline before? Any advice for me?


21 thoughts on “An important announcement

  1. I can't get anything done without a deadline. I think setting a deadline is a fabulous idea… if I were you, though, I'd push the date even closer. Six months seems like a long time. But no matter what, get 'er done! Good luck!

  2. With an editor, you always have deadlines. πŸ™‚

    I like deadlines, it helps me focus. Generally, I divide the time by 'job'.

    For instance, I might decide to read through and polish in a week. The next read will be for continuity. The read after that will be for technical aspects like grammar, looking for weasel words, and making sure everyone and everything is spelled correctly (and the spelling is consistent).

    Breaking it down into little bites makes it go faster.

    PS You can probably polish in less than three months.

  3. I generally break the whole project down into smaller jobs and assign those smaller jobs deadlines too. Also, since life has a way of “interfering” I schedule a couple of “blank” weeks into my schedule.

    Good Luck!!

  4. I've given myself deadlines on my most recent WIP and I've consistently missed them πŸ™‚

    I think you'll do better than I. I look forward to following your progress through next summer.

  5. I too have a bad habit of missing my deadlines. But, I am sure you will not miss it as I feel you have had enough of working on this manuscript for five years. Good luck with your deadline πŸ™‚

  6. Go for it! I always write and edit on a deadline. I print it out and read it, usually in a week–slashing plot structure and scenes that don't work. Once I get that done. I go through it digitally and tighten, add dialogue etc…while I check for typos, so about 2-3 weeks. Then I give 4-6 weeks for my crit partners to have it. When they give it back, I pull both screens up and go through it making changes at my discretion. I usually keep 80% of their suggestions. Then I do a search/replace for overused phrases and words. Then send to my agent. Editing takes about 8-10 weeks. (Of course that doesn't count suggestions from my agent after she's looked at it and those changes!)

    I'm cheering you on! Good luck!

  7. Well don on setting a deadline. I also have some mss (shorter children's stories) that have been hanging around on my 'to be completed' computer file and they make me feel slightly sick when I open them up again. I ought to make some decisions about them just as you have about your novel.

  8. I agree, setting a closer deadline with a smaller goal might make it less overwhelming. And then find someone intimidating who you promise to give the mss to to read! If you don't give it to them they're allowed to punish you in some way.

  9. Is it like writing on a deadline? I'm trying to finish my first draft of this one by January 31. The only other novel I've written to completion was my grad school thesis, and that was finished in 2007. So, when I finish this one, it'll have been 5 years, too, even though I just started it in November. Let's both make 2012 a great year for writing.

  10. I am wishing you the best on this plan. Based on reading your blog I'm sure you can finish this project.
    Deadlines are funny, some people recoil at them while others thrive. You now have a certain motivation and can do this.
    Plan well though. Decide where and when you will write. How much time you will invest each day.
    Give an honest effort, ask for help when necessary, get the words on paper (or whatever your medium is) and worry about changing it later, perhaps a weekly read-through. Easy to change writing, not easy when you don't have much.
    Don't torture yourself, keep in mind that you must do it because you want to and have something to say.
    Come June, a lot of people will be enriched because of what you wrote.
    If you get in trouble prayer has always helped me, and will you too.

  11. I don't know what everyone else said, but do not over rewrite the book. At this point, you have to think it's as good as it can be. It's your first book, you will eventually have to look at a blank page and write something else. Be prepared to do that. I would go through it ONE more time, revise, edit, whatever, and then LEAVE IT ALONE. Work on the query letter, work on synopsis, work on hook. That will take you months to figure out. Then do your best to sell it. Write the next book in the process, while you wait to hear back. DO NOT GO BACK TO THE FIRST BOOK AFTER YOU QUERY. And above all else, hope for the best!

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