Friday, May 16, 2014

Take a Pause and Breathe

Take Your Time by Jay Roeder
Dear Diary,

There's something to be said about taking a moment and thinking.

Not doing.

Just thinking. (Okay, with a little bit of doing because that's just who I am.)

This is an important part of the writing process. It's also an important part of the publishing/branding process. And most importantly? It's an important part of the life process.

Writing Processing
I just published my third by-myself Book, which is Bad Mom Rents a Man: Mother's Day (#1). I made sure I thought about and wrote down the writing process as I did it. This included:
  • Brainstorm Story to Make Sure Roadmap is Strong
  • Write First Draft, Revise as I Go (Drafts 1 & 2)
  • Write Next Draft with Plot Holes in Mind (Draft 3)
  • Write Next Draft with Logical Progression of Tension & Character in Mind (Draft 4)
  • Give Book to Alpha Readers
  • Write Next Draft Based on Reader Feedback & Things I Hadn't Gotten To When I Started Getting Tired in Draft 4 (Draft 5)
  • Write Next Draft Inside Scrivener, With Chapters Segregated, To See if Story Was Built Evenly and to Make Myself Focus on Each Chapter (Draft 6)
  • Give Book to Beta Readers
  • Pull Story Out of Scrivener and Lay Out in Word for Print Book (Draft 7)
  • Give Book to Proofer
  • Edit Out Errors from Story in Word and Put a Copy into Scrivener for eBook (Draft 8)
I always thought I had six drafts. Nope. Eight. EIGHT! Good job me!

Publishing/Branding Processing
I looked at my output after putting out 3 by-myself books. They take about 2.5 months for a novella, 3.5 months for a novel. I then redid my calendar based on reality and not on the optimistic guesstimates I did at the start of the year.

Note: I revisit my publishing plan every two to three weeks to see where I'm at, where I'm going, and what my year-end and two-year goals are to see if I'm ultimately meeting them.

I also looked over the variables of my branding. I realized that the cartoonish book covers for the Favorite Series weren't as organic as I liked. And the cartoonish website wasn't representative of who I truly was. (I'm a fluffy kind of writer, but I have a bit more depth to my stuff than an episode of The Jetsons). In the weeks ahead (through May, June & July), I'll be re-doing the covers and the website to be where I want to be with them. They'll be done in time for By-Myself Book #4: His Favorite Distraction (Summer 2014). 

I've mocked up covers, and they're lovely and consistent with fun and light and contemporary romance. Now I do what I did when I painted my homes: I sit and stare at the paint (or rather, the cover layout) for the next month to make sure they are what I want. (By the way, do you know how many kinds of beige there are? Yellow-tinted. Green-tinted. Gray-tinted. Orange-tinted. Nuttiness!)

Life Processing
I had to make sure I was having fun with the writing/promoting/branding (I was--check!); I was giving enough quality time to my children (I had moments of failure, but not for longer than a day after acknowledging the issue and fixing it); and I was prioritizing my life in the order that was correct for me (health, family, writing, day job, house cleaning). 

One of the most freeing bits of looking at my life in general was realizing that housekeeping is not a hobby. That I will never be fantastic at it, not if I want to try to sleep five hours a night AND write AND promote AND mother AND wife AND work The Day Job. As long as I keep the dishes out of the sink, our clothes fresh, and our floors free of the plague, then I'm batting 1,000 in my eyes.

And there you have it...thinking and being mindful and maybe doing some productive doing. 

It helps keep me sane. ;o)

Mostly.
Sydney