Last week, I posted my novel-writing game plan and said that it was missing an important element, one that I'm reluctant to face.
I know schedules are integral to thoughtful planning; otherwise, things are likely to be delayed indefinitely (which is what's been happening with my writing so far). I understand the value of due dates because I am a very deadline-motivated person — just look at how I write English papers: I procrastinate like crazy until the last possible moment, then write the entire thing in one night. Yeah, I don't think that's going to work out so well when it comes to writing a novel.
So maybe I just need to set my own schedule... but that comes with its own set of problems, too.
It's not that I'm schedule-adverse. I like them. I really do. I love the idea of being organized and staying on track and knowing what's coming up so I can mentally prepare myself. But I also like flexibility and spontaneity and having options. Sometimes this results in writing out a meticulous schedule only to blow it off on a whim, leaving me to wonder, later, how I managed to get so distracted.
I realize this does not bode well for my project.
I'm terrible at slow and steady, yet I know it's something I'll have to learn if I plan to write a novel. (I hate marathons too, but that might have more to do with the fact that I detest running.) Besides, the important thing is to keep going even if I fail, right?
I actually have no idea how long any of this is supposed to take — outlining, drafting, revising. I know it's different for everyone, perhaps even different for every project, so for this first one I'm giving myself a lot of leeway: a year and two weeks. That means I'd like to complete at least my first draft by July 1, 2012. That should be plenty of time to write 80k words or so, no?
I'm hoping to have a concrete outline by October/November, just in time to give NaNoWriMo another shot (last year I only managed a few thousand words, so my hopes aren't high). Then, depending on my progress, I'll set a (low and doable) weekly word count goal and go from there.
Fingers crossed that I'll finish on time, if not early! I must say I feel a bit at a loss when it comes to this aspect of planning, so if you have any thoughts or tips, I would love to hear them!
What do you think? Do you give yourself a deadline for your projects? Or is there one decided for you? Do you have word count goals or scheduled time to write, and how did you decide how much they should be? And how do you push yourself to meet your goals?