I have a crazy, busy spring and summer of writing ahead of me! I made a decision to write a book series and then publish it at the start of 2024! There are going to be 4 books in the series. To be fair, one book in the series has been written. One is written but needs a big overhaul and the other two are more or less from scratch. One was a novella, the other a short story. I'll go into a lot more detail about each book as separate posts but with all the extra writing ahead and with feelings of overwhelm creeping in, I thought I'd write a checklist of how I do, and how I intend to cope with all of this writing!
Set yourself realistic deadlines. You can decide how many words you can write in a given week. Give yourself wriggle room so that if an emergency comes up in that week, you can still make your deadline. If you say 10,000 words in one week, try to write 2000 words on five days out of the seven so that you have two spare days available if needed. And that's also useful if you can only do 1000 words in one day.
Find an editor. You can't finish your book without professional input on your writing. Decide who you need; e.g. a copy-editor, a line editor, a structural editor? All of these people have different roles so, depending on what stage your writing is at, you will need to make a decision as to who you will need to hire. (I'll cover this in another blog post).
Consider what outside help you need. To bring all your hard work to completion you will need to consider how you will get the final product ready for the world. (If that's your intention). Start to think about book cover designers, marketing strategies, promotion, book formatting. At some stage you will need all of this and more so keep a checklist at hand and keep referring or adding to it alongside your writing time.
Take breaks when you need to. We all know that writing a book is a long, lonely process. Don't sink into despair if a plotline is not coming together. If it all gets too much, you're doing too much. Take a break. Don't forget you had other interests and hobbies that you really enjoyed before all the writing got in the way. Make time for them. You'll be upset if you go months without hitting the gym or taking your favourite walk. Give yourself mental and physical health checks.
Reward yourself on work well done. Every time you hit a deadline, why not have a mini celebration? Sit and relax for an hour and read a book. Visit a friend. Visit a beauty salon. Cook your favourite meal - better still get someone to cook it for you. Look after yourself, writing is hard work when you really get stuck in so don't lose yourself along the way.
Don't beat yourself up if it's not working. Sometimes we embark on a writing idea that seemed brilliant to start with but you can't seem to get the right voice for a character, a part of the plot seems too flimsy or obvious. If you can't make it work the chances are it wasn't a strong enough idea. Don't be afraid to re-write and re-write again. It will eventually fall into place. If you have someone you can bounce your ideas off this will really help. If you don't, consider joining a writing group, either locally or online. A writing buddy is invaluable at times like these. Which brings me to my next point.
Plan your story. Whether you're a planner or a panster, at some stage you need to take stock of the story. Even if it is dreamt up in your mind, take the time to think storylines through and have a good idea of who the players are; what are their motives, what are their obstacles and how will they overcome them? How does your main character change by the end of the book? What do they learn?
Last of all. Breathe. Take lots of deep breaths and enjoy the ride. Remember why you started this particular story. Find the joy in your writing and keep going!