There are milestones in life where changing becomes unavoidable. Becoming a parent is one of them. Going into this, the only thing I really knew was that I didn’t know what would happen.
What I had not prepared for? Significant changing of my writing process. I had not anticipated that my process could alter so much so quickly.
What I’ve learned so far (originally part of this post on my personal blog):
- Don’t draft by hand when I’ll have to transcribe it later. This little one just does not allow me that much time, so in the interest of productivity and my mental state, this is no longer an option (after having been my preferred process for more than a decade). And no, I’m not interested in dictation software; composing aloud is a tragedy waiting to happen, I don’t want to use a crap program that will just cause me more work in the long run but can’t justify to myself the expense of a good program, and the times it would be most useful – so far – are times when I least want to risk waking the baby.
- Multiple projects at once are my friends. Where before I couldn’t split my focus enough to make this a feasible approach, split focus is now my baseline standard. Can’t make words come on one project? Switch to another. Most recently, I’ve had two short stories in process of rough draft going in Scrivener, plotting of another short story by hand (because plotting just works me through things; I don’t have to type it later), and a novel manuscript on my Kindle for the necessary read-through before tackling revision.
- Don’t power through; sleep. When the computer starts sliding off my lap, or the pen starts making feathery blotches on the page, or the Kindle starts slipping from my fingers, it is past time for me to sleep. I need to be functional for the little one, and I need to be functional to make my words coherent.
To go with these new quirks of process, my attempt at NaNoWriMo has given me an idea of my new limits. (Stats tracking is a wonderful thing!)
By the end of the month, I will have written 12,000 words. Many of those blog posts in various corners of the internet and pages in my journal. So not story-writing, but they count.
My various targets going forward:
- 10,000 words for the month of December, between holidays and returning part time to work
- 8 blog posts
- 3 short stories to various states of finished/polished
- 50 pages revised in the novel
Really, all of these are only for December. I’ll revise again from there, particularly the novel revision, as I don’t have a clear grasp of what I can reasonably expect of myself.
All in all, I would say my attempt at NaNo has been a success. At least, I’ve gotten what I hoped out of it.