vb – (often foll by: on) to chatter or babble pointlessly or at unnecessary length
n – pointless chat; chatter
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
It’s been a while since I blogged about the writing process, mostly because I’ve been too busy writing and avoiding writing to get this far. Let me retrace a couple of steps so that makes sense, now.
2017 began with a lot of excitement and good intentions for me, writing-wise. I published the sequel to my dark fantasy retelling of Beauty & the Beast and December was busy with tour stuff as a result. And all of you, wonderful, lovely people were right there with me to help me celebrate and join in on the virtual fun. As the excitement of all that jazz wore down, I began working on the next installment. With Scarred Beauty so fresh in my mind, I did not want to waste time before diving into Bound. So, I wrote and I plotted and planned and things seemed to make sense. Words were flowing, easy-peasy.
But then the New Year came and all these other ideas began to sprout up in my mind. See, every year I try to think of a writer’s game plan. I pick projects to focus on and others to keep on the back burner. Bound Beauty has been at the forefront of my mind, but for some reason I kept going back to my outline. I felt like I needed to write up some back story to the story I was working on. While I floundered with that story, I started working here and there on these other projects. Only, I realized I suddenly had about five separate manuscripts I was working on and oh my Lord that’s just too much.
I might maybe have been using these other projects as an excuse to jump around and not fix the problems I was having with Bound. Okay? I admit it. Guilty. But these other projects, like (Tamn: Heaven’s Edge #3) + (New & Improved Silver Hollow) + (top secret stuff & thangs) were still very important to me to work on. So, last week I made myself step back for a few days (a nasty cold helped this process). I decided it was high time I wrote up a legit “Modus Operandi” for 2017.
Sounds silly, I know, but I can’t begin to tell you how writing out all my writing problems helped everything become clearer. I used this “snowball” technique I read about once in this awesome non-fic book called “Financial Peace” by Dave Ramsey. The snowball effect is where you list out all your debts in order of smallest to largest (keeping interest in account, cause it makes a difference, yo). Then you go down that list, chipping away at it, one bite of the elephant at a time. Obviously I’m not totally applying the same principle to my writing, cause again, difference between money and words. However, listing what is most important as well as what can and needs to be worked on first made a huge difference.
I filled up a few pages with lists of all the books I wanted to write this year, but then applied better reasoning, with reality constraints in mind. After all, I’m no Stephen King and don’t get paid enough to publish all of these at once. But this doesn’t mean I can’t make goals and write. I wrote out a lot of gibberish in fact, wrote myself in circles. It all came down to this: Finish what you’ve started.
So, here’s my condensed modus operandi for 2017. As you will see, I borrowed a couple Heinlein’s Rules, because he kinda says it all. There are other things, of course, but I couldn’t fit everything on this graphic. This was what seemed most important. I needed this for my desktop so I could force-face myself every time I press that power button. So far it has worked wonders for my work ethic. And even though this is sorta personal for me and sorta makes me feel exposed to share, I’m going to anyway. 🙂
Because I wanted to encourage you today, whether you’re a writer or not. Make a modus operandi for your life. Pretty sure I should make a couple more of these, one for “Mommy Rules” so I try to be the best I can be each new day with my kid.
Whatever your mission or work, take some time and write out the things you should and could be focusing on. We all need a little help keeping our priorities straight. Now that I’ve rediscovered mine and shared them, feel free to bug me whenever you want about a project. It’ll just spur me on to work harder and faster.
All this said, I’m off to steal some sleep before my day job as M.O.M begins again 😉
Happy Writing, Reading, Creating!