Unless you are like me, and read all your blogs in a reader instead of visiting the website proper, you have probably noticed a new widget in my sidebar. It’s an experiment in accountability.
After years as a scribbler for hire, I have found that I work best with a deadline. When I worked for the County, the question I asked myself every morning was, “Which of my projects is required by law to be finished first?” Working on projects with legislated deadlines was a great way lesson in priority-setting.
This is good news for freelance clients, but can leave my personal work writhing in the dust. With no deadline, creative writing can never be a priority. So I am experimenting with personal deadlines. Just as assignments from my supervisor often took a back seat to assignments required by law, I know that deadlines I set for myself will have to give way when freelance work calls. But I am hoping that this kind of goal setting, made public here on the blog, will help to keep me active in my attempts at creative writing.
My current project is a fantasy novel for kids. When I started out, I thought it was going to be YA, but it is skewing middle grade as I write the first draft. I’m not going to worry about that for now. Right now, my goal is to complete a first draft. I am using this project to learn about plot. It’s so easy to evaluate the plots in other people’s completed books, but writing your own is a completely different exercise. As a nonfiction writer, I have never had an assignment that required the development of a plot – timelines, yes, but it’s not the same thing.
Right now, I am 22,000 words into a first draft. I do not have a goal for length. It will be as long as it takes for me to tell the story, and I’m still figuring out what that story is. But I have set a deadline of April 30 to have that question answered in the form of a very rough first draft.
And now it’s not just on my radar, it’s on my home page. Wish me luck!