shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass

4.24.2005

productivityville

Finally, a weekend where it feels like things are back on track. Because several people seemed interested in the whole working out a writing schedule thing, here's how we did the schedule thing. Let me preface this by saying, there's part of me that really resists the idea of planning this, but I've made peace with it. At this point, there's just too much going on otherwise that will eat up life if time isn't carefully carved out.

We started out with a list of dates; these were dates when one or both of us would be going somewhere for some sort of writing-related purpose. Nebula Weekend (next weekend, yeep -- Chicago folks, yell if you want to get together for a drink), Wiscon (Memorial Day, also soon), Sycamore Hill (June, Christopher), Worldcon/Glasgow (August) and World Fantasy Convention back in Madison (October, maybe just me, maybe both of us). Damn, we're attempting too much conference travel this year. As opposed to last year, where we only went to Mexico, Wiscon and Raleigh to get married.

Anyhow. We figured with those things spread out as they are, we could use them as kind of lampposts around which to schedule things -- also trips tend to be disrupters, so making deadlines just before one turns out better than just after.

Then we each made another list of major writing projects we want to get done. Then another list of semi-writing-related things we both need to do -- web content for the new Say... site, for instance, Say... layout, for another.

After that, it becomes a little too random to talk about, but basically we assigned major goals to certain periods of time, then backed in mini-deadlines for the increments we would need to accomplish to actually finish on the Real Big Deadlines. Real Big Deadlines subject to adjustment, but only if you're more than two weeks away from them. Theoretically.

Next we'll probably make a list of things we can not do and also be able to do these other things. Having an aggressive writing schedule should save us money as less going out and being silly ensues -- money which will be needed to buy the insanely expensive tickets to Scotland. (Wealthy benefactors, we're still waiting.)

Did I mention we did this outside in beautiful weather, eating Mexican food and drinking a nice bottle of wine?

So far, so good. The weather enforced a strict Inside The House policy this weekend (freaking snow in April?!), which helped too. Christopher's almost done with the Say... layout, which was on his calendar. I just finished the cutting part of the Girl's Gang revision (17,000 words lighter - yay!) and made my notes on how I'm going to approach the rewrite/reshuffling stage that's coming up. (Of course, I put off starting this, which was my weekend goal, until after 11 last night, watching nearly all the TV we had DVRed; ah, the beauty of deadlines.) I also did some bonus clean-up on the pages of the new book I've got so far.

My major goals are to finish the GG revision by the weekend before Wiscon and to break the 100-page mark on the new book by then too. Hard work? Sure. Doable? Absolutely.

Oh, I should also mention that we only attempted to schedule through June, so we'll have to do more when we get there.

Two little things I noticed in the cutting process (about which more soon). If you have a conversation or a tense scene going on and there's too much stuff between one piece of dialogue and the next, you can almost certainly cut the stuff in between. And, relatedly, you really do not have to walk the reader through your character's reasoning: readers are good at supplying that themselves, it just gets tedious.

Happy week ahead, and, please, send the sun back.

p.s. I probably owe you email. It's on the calendar. Promise. (But maybe not until May.)

5 Comments:

  • At 7:41 PM , Anonymous scott said...

    "And, relatedly, you really do not have to walk the reader through your character's reasoning: readers are good at supplying that themselves, it just gets tedious."

    Raymond Chandler's advice on this was: go ahead and write the reasoning out like it's part of the book. Then cut it.

    It helps the writer, but annoys the reader.

    Yes, we've been doing the deadlines-before-travel thing for a while. The only problem is, you have to PACK before travel too . . .

     
  • At 9:03 PM , Blogger Dave said...

    (Yelling now.)

    Also, Critical Mass is on Friday. You guys bringing your bikes?

     
  • At 12:08 AM , Anonymous eek said...

    The current BUST has a great article on being an artist while sustaining a day job. They give a big shout-out to scheduling, which I, in turn, pass on to you.

    You've inspired me to get serious about scheduling myself, since I now need to get into gear with the free time, between writing, class prep, and reading series stuff (not to mention new online magazine I might start? wha?). Oh yeah and the pernicious dayjob, which I do actually enjoy.

     
  • At 4:54 PM , Blogger CAAF said...

    Are you not coming for Sycamore, G?

     
  • At 5:07 PM , Blogger gwenda said...

    Scott: Nice.

    We will see you in Chi-town, Dave.

    Erin: A webzine too? You are a madwoman!

    CAAF: I'm driving Mr. Rowe up and then coming back to get him, so there will be weekend overlap when it's not going on. I'll send you dates!

     

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