Quite a bit has happened since last I posted!
I have been working hard on the sequel to In Sleep You Know, and the manuscript has reached 27,000 words. Of course, that doesn’t count the outline and copious notes I’ve also got, because are you even writing if you don’t have twenty-seven pages of notes and outlines? [I am only exaggerating a little, I love amassing notes on my projects]
As a writer, it is important for me to stay organized, and to be accountable to myself and my readers. I am self-published, so I don’t have publisher deadlines to keep me on track. Technically, I can do whatever I want, whenever I like. That’s fantastic for my mental state, because I abhor the idea of having to answer to someone “above” me – hence why I have worked for myself for so long. Freedom is important, but I still require structure in order to be effective at what I do, and setting my own deadlines helps to keep me focused. Producing within a reasonable amount of time keeps readers happy, as well!
One of the ways that I create structure is by setting word count goals as I write my manuscript. Those turn into editing goals once the first draft is complete. For In Sleep You Know, I used NaNoWriMo [National Novel Writing Month] to motivate myself to keep on track with word count and production. For those who are unfamiliar, you join a community that is aligned to one purpose: writing 50,000 words in the month of November. There are trackers on your page where you can update your daily word count, and the page creates a graph that shows you your progress. It’s a great visual reminder, and for a rewards-driven person like me, it gamifies things just enough by awarding writers various cute virtual badges on your user page.
NaNo was the push I needed to get inspired, and I finished the first manuscript for ISYK in record time. It was a real breakthrough for me as a writer! This time around, I am using a variety of cobbled together resources to keep me focused and motivated, including my Facebook group for writers, online writing sprints with Caveday and via the Clarion West Write-A-Thon, and using the daily word count goal option in Scrivener.
Scrivener and Trello are the backbone of my process. I also use Evernote to take notes on the fly, which get automagically uploaded to Trello. I tend to dump a lot of the research that I do [names, lore, lyrics, concepts] into Evernote as I gather it. Once it gets uploaded to Trello – I use Zapier for that – I can sort it into the proper cards.
Trello holds everything from my outlines to character sheets to the piddly but important details like “what was everything in Merrick’s pouch?” and “What does each House look like?” I can add photos, links, and even task lists of every point I want to hit in a character’s arc, for example. As I am a very visual person, I find it to be really helpful in this regard!
Scrivener does have a lot of the same functionality, but I prefer to use it for words over images. The current project – “Unnamed Sequel With Working Title: The Immutable Truth” which I know just trips lightly off the tongue – is mostly chapter folders with scenes broken down in each chapter, plus some notes with character goals and motivations, a rough outline, and a few character sheets. Nothing fancy, but wow does it work for me!
Previously, I used Google Docs, then another writing program that was free, and messed up my manuscript when it was time to save it. You get what you pay for, folks.
You might see a few clues for what’s to come in the new book if you look carefully at my Scrivener screenshot, la la la. You’ll note that some chapters already have their band and track assigned to them, and others have not. That’s a laborious process that, I won’t lie, I love doing so much. I have an entire playlist already going for the book with songs that fit the mood and the plot, with more to come. Others probably won’t make the final cut, but they are still definitely mood and might end up in an extended mix at some point. Want a sneak peek at what’s on there beyond what I’ve captured in that screenshot? Supporters on Ko-Fi have the link! [hint hint!]
I will be compiling a list with ALL the links to tools, books, and other helpful things that I use and recommend as an author – if that is of interest to you, comment below!