Has Anyone Seen My Horse? Oh, There It Is Behind My Cart!

Recently I wrote myself into a corner. A brick corner. A brick corner reinforced with steel and concrete. I used it as an excuse not to write and instead I focused on other aspects of writing. Which I suppose is better than eating cupcakes and watching SVU reruns all day. But then I realized something: SVU is an amazing show. But all jokes aside, while I was busy doing other things, I was essentially putting my cart before my horse. I just needed to sit down and write. Today I did that and managed to get out a little over 600 words. And they weren’t crap! So here’s a list of things I won’t be focusing on as much:

  • This Blog. Just kidding, I love this thing. What I don’t love is trying to force myself to adhere to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule. Sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes I just don’t have anything to report. Also, being funny can be very taxing. I don’t wanna waste all the funny.
  • Social Networking. I’m keeping my facebook; don’t wanna disappoint the whopping 23 people that “Liked” me on there. Also keeping Twitter because having my account suspended (unnecessarily) every other week  is something I live for. However, I don’t think I’ll be spending as much time at World Literary Cafe (even though it’s the best thing to happen to authors since laptops) and I won’t be signing up for LinkedIn or Klout just yet.
  • Fretting Over a Title. Seriously, I’m only about a third of the way done with the first draft of my novel. The title is not important right now, finishing the novel is. (Even though I am really starting to like the working title…dammit there I go again.)
  • Fretting Over Book Cover Art. Scroll up a few lines. See what I wrote there about the title? Applies here too. (Gotta spread the funny where you can, ya know?)
  • Learning Stuff. Ok, that’s not entirely true. I still want to learn how to be a better writer. But I don’t need to learn that much about publishing options and marketing strategies right now. These things are still important, but I need to have a finished product before I can act on anything I learn. And who knows? The industry may continue to evolve and the plan I started to formulate might be antiquated or obselete next year.
  • Editing. I have a thing for editing. *Cue collective Gasp* It’s true. I keep going backwards to search out passive voice, unnecessary adverbs, and vague descriptions. If I keep this up, I’ll never finish my novel. But I’ll have the most beautiful, most polished 1/3 of a book you people have ever seen, dammit!
  • Requesting Beta Readers. If there’s anything that screams “cart before horse,” its requesting the advice of a beta reader before your novel is finished. In my defense, this individual is also writing a novel and I offered to read for him and we worked out an arrangement where were going to swap chapter for chapter. His work is finished, mine is not. so the arrangement was obviously for my benefit. In regards to my first chapter, he offered very good advice, but some of his insight I refused to accept because he hadn’t read the remaining chapters. Of course this was through no fault of his, but I think its better that I not ask for critiques until the damn thing is done. (You can find him over at In and Out of Place, by the way.)

So there you have it. I’ve gotta focus on writing. So this is me, holding a carrot out, and coaxing my horse back in front of my cart. Wish me luck and hit up the comments section.

19 thoughts on “Has Anyone Seen My Horse? Oh, There It Is Behind My Cart!

  1. Outlines are for the weak!

    But the rest of your ideas sound like very good ones. Probably the most important one is to stop editing as you go and worry about that when you get to the end. As Ann Lamott has wisely said, Give yourself permission to write a sh*tty first draft!

      • I could definitely use that, because I do get stuck in loops of overanalyzing what I’ve done and not going forward. Maybe promise yourself a spa day or a day at the beach when you actually finish. I can’t really remember how I finished my first two novels. Sadly, I think I seriously believed they were going to become bestsellers and I was going to make enough money to put the kid through private school. Now I know that ain’t gonna happen, it’s a lot harder to stay off of Facebook and finish the third book!

  2. I completely relate to this. This has been me over the last couple of weeks, there always seems to be too many distracts or made up distractions to prevent you moving forward with just writing, the thing we’ve always loved to do!! I know what you mean about blogging too, I love blogging but sometimes it starts to feel like you have to force something just in case people stop reading you and where would we be without out loyal followers. Hang in there though dude because the end result is going to be mind blowing!!!

  3. I never bother with a title until the story is complete. I also try my damnedest (but fail) to not edit until I’m done. Since I fail so miserably, I give myself permission to do a light edit when I’m finished a rough chapter. I also start my story and then stop to write a working outline about a quarter of the way through. This works for me but I’m sure it wouldn’t for everyone. We all have a different groove to find that maximizes our output, I guess.

    • I edit each chapter after I finish it as well! Well, correction: I proofread and flesh out details. What I tend to go back and do is rewrite and enhance sentences and look for passive voice and other smaller, less noticeable mistakes. These are the things I need to hold off on until the entire manuscript is finished.

  4. Working title is bound to change, especially when the marketing people get hold of it.

    I’m trying to write more by writing more (duh!). Actually setting word goals is working for me. Seems to prune FB and Twitter time down nicely.

    • I haven’t gotten to word goals yet, but I’m trying to sit down and say, “I’m going to write for one straight hour.” And if I have to stop for research or eating or whatever, I don’t count that towards the hour of writing time. It worked for me when I wrote this post, so I’m going to try it this whole week and see what happens.

  5. Absolutely agree goals are important. I’ve never found a time goal to be that helpful, though, as you can get so much or so little done in an hour!
    What worked for me (just finished my draft a few weeks back), was having that complete outline – the whole novel broken down by chapters and scenes before I wrote it. The outline got tweaked along the way, sure, but the best bit was I always knew what scene I had to write next. That became my daily unit of writing to do – one scene.
    And once I’d banged out my 500-1500 words I was allowed to go and play on my blog or peruse Twitter or design book covers in my head 🙂
    Best of luck, and just keep at it!

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