If someone could photograph the workings of my brain, this is what it would look like. My thoughts are like the concentric paths of each ring. If I don't concentrate my efforts, force organization into my methods, the effect is the same as letting your eyes drift to the side of this image. My rings start spinning independent of the others and before I realize what's happened, I've lost two productive hours of my day.
In support of my natural and near-nonexistent left-brain talents, I'm devising a writing schedule for my WIP. I work best with looming deadlines, so here's my plan of action:
I have until I leave for France to complete and print out the Snowflake Method outline for Overcome. I leave on June 18, so:
By April 3: Step Six -- One week to expand one page story synopsis into a four-page synopsis.
By April 10: Step Seven -- One week to expand character synopsis into detailed character charts.
By May 1: Step Eight -- From four-page story synopsis, create scenes. [Plot scenes on spreadsheet and decide chapter breaks...(*right side of brain begins weeping*)]
By May 29: Step Nine -- Back to word processor, sketch each chapter by expanding each spreadsheet line into multi-paragraph description of that scene. Decide essential conflict of each chapter.
By June 5 (leaving me a week to pack): Revisions and chapter drafts. Each chapter draft/sketch will go on new page(s). I'll print them out and put them in a three-ring binder where I can resort chapter order and make revisions. This is the hardcopy I'll take to France.
There are several motivators built into this plan. For example, my in-laws don't have a computer or Internet connection. Any work I do on the project will have to be handwritten. I'll be on vacation so clearly writing won't be my first priority; however, taking into consideration the ten-hour roundtrip plane rides and la sieste -- two hour "quiet time" strictly observed in France between the noon-day meal and late afternoon -- I'll have opportunities to write.
Disclaimer: I know in my heart that I won't need this kind of strict planning for future novels. I may never sell this one. My objective is to get it written, to learn the process so next time my organizational skills can truly support my creative voice.
Do writing schedules work for you? How important are deadlines for your productivity?
I'm a short story author, aspiring novelist, and world traveler who has penned fiction from homes on three different continents. I currently live with my husband and two children in the Atlanta area. When I find myself less inspired by my Southern locale, I have only to rifle through memories of adventures abroad until colorful characters or thrilling plots come forth. And on the rare occasion that none arise...I've been known to finagle a flight out.