Write. Write. Write.

I blogged that I would finish my young adult novel in progress, THE MAGIC QUILT, by December 31st, 2007. Argh. That was before the month of November hit me hard — scroll through the posts here in the “life coming at me fast” category to learn more. I will make an honest effort to get ‘er done, as they say in here in North Carolina. Wish me well as I travel back in time to the colonial world of spying, espionage, and rebellion this holiday season.

This said, I’m cutting myself off from blogging temporarily, until Jan 1st or when I finish THE MAGIC QUILT, whichever comes first, heavy sigh. I estimate I have about 40 hours of editing to go (based on the amount of time I’ve spent on each chapter so far). It is increasingly difficult to get myself started editing THE MAGIC QUILT. I find myself doing anything else: reading my e-mail, surfing writing discussion boards, blogging (like I’m doing now), creating new short stories, revising stories based on my critique group’s edits, and looking for markets for my stories.

So, I’m making a hard editing schedule for myself based on Greg Martin’s writing workshop focused on revision. He suggests that students should keep a daily journal of their writing schedule and goals as follows.

Each day you make seven entries:
1. The date and the time
2. How long you plan to work.
3. What you plan to work on for this day.
4. Time when you stop writing and total amount of time writing.
5. Answer the questions: What did you actually end up doing? How well did it go?
6. What you plan to work on tomorrow
7. When you plan to work tomorrow and for how long.

Sample Entry
1. Sept 15, 2005 8:30 am
2. Work until noon
3. Focus on rising action in Macular Degeneration
4. 12:15 Almost four hours
5. Sluggish until coffee kicked in, then pretty good characterization of Oscar. Didn’t get to turning point.
6. More rising action tomorrow. Must write turning point–as scene, not just a lame sketch.
7. Tomorrow: 5:30 to 9.

• You can’t take three days off in a row.
• If you take two days off in a row, you ought to feel bad, not just about your habits and your lack of discipline, but about yourself as a person.
• You must log 18 hours of writing time a week. This is an average of 3 hours a day six days a week. (You can write more.) Take a day off each week, if you must, but I don’t recommend it. Why would you?.

Hmm — day job, Christmas preparations, husband, dog, friends, family, shopping for food, washing clothes.

You’re supposed to love it. You’ll love it more, the more you do it. Wynton Marsalis didn’t take a day off practicing the trumpet for two years. That’s why he’s Wynton Marsalis.
• Unplug the phone. (Turn off cell, if you feel you must have one of those)
• No email.
• No diary-type notes. Nothing about your cat’s urinary tract infection.

So, I have 22 days. If I write 3 hours a day, the math totals to 66 hours of writing. I could finish even if I take a day or two off. I’m going to give ‘er the old college try. Wish me luck.