Getting Back to Business
You hear that, friends? It’s summer, whispering goodbye as you pack away your bathing suit and sunscreen. Dig out your socks. Paw through the pile of discarded school supplies to cobble together 16 pre-sharpened colored pencils. (Seriously, buying all new every year is overrated.) It might also be the WIP you dropped in June when the busy-ness of summer hit, begging you to return. Now, you’re in that beautiful lull between trips to your favorite body of water and Christmas shopping. You know what that means. Butts in seats, fingers on keyboard, words on paper.
That’s right, it’s time to get back in the saddle again, Aerosmith-style. Or Gene Autry-style. Either way, you need to make the most of this (relative) downtime and produce. How, you ask? Wouldn’t you know, we have some ideas.
- S-C-H-E-D-U-L-E – Put your writing time on the calendar whenever it works best for you. Get up earlier, write over lunch, block off a couple of hours in the evening. But put it in writing and communicate with those who need to know. Treat it like a job.
- Prep ahead of time. Take five minutes at the end of your scheduled writing session to review what you’ve written and jot some notes about where you’re going next. Even if you don’t end up going there next, you’re giving yourself a starting place so you can dive right in.
- Give yourself a deadline. There are a lot of possibilities here. I like to give myself until the Emerald City Writer’s Conference to complete a WIP. When I walk into a meeting with an editor or agent, I’m prepared to send them the full right then and there. Maybe with the holidays coming, you’d like to give your memoir, legacy project, or children’s book as a gift. (Just remember, you need editing and production time, so plan accordingly.)
- Find an accountability partner. Do you have a friend or fellow writer who needs to get back in the saddle, too? Set up goals and regular check-ins. Pick someone who won’t give you any slack, and pretend they’re your boss. Or maybe just ask your boss?
- Remember why you’re doing this. It’s easy to get bogged down by the shoulds or overwhelmed by all the non-writing work that’s involved in a writing career. But you got started in this because you like to write and you have a story to tell. So focus on that. Enjoy the process of creating something entirely new and unique.
- Pace yourself. If you’re feeling the motivation, the words have been building up and are ready to burst forth, go to town. (Perhaps I should brush up on my mixed metaphors?) But don’t put undue pressure on yourself to “make up for lost time.” Be realistic in what you can accomplish as you flex muscles that might have gotten a little soft over the last few months.
Fall is a beautiful, pumpkin spice-scented time for productivity. This is the home stretch. Finish up those last few chapters, wrap up this project, and be ready to start the new year (eek!) with a fresh, new book. And, as always, get it touch if we can help.