Harper’s Harpings: Why keep to a writing schedule?

It has been ten days since I last wrote any words for the work in progress I have open at the moment. That sounds like a confession to a priest. It’s meant to be, you are my priest and I need a kick up the arse and not forgiveness.

I have a genius (bonkers) writing schedule and so far I have stuck to it. I’ve released the books in the month I said I would and technically it’s still March and I haven’t failed on March’s release…….yet.

I probably will because I haven’t finished writing it, let alone have it edited and then beta read. It’s a 10k short story, but the process still takes time. I might make it, who knows. My indecisiveness at its best.

As a self-published author, are writing schedules a whimsical notion or should I stick to it?

In the next twelve months, I plan to publish roughly half a million words. I have written 188k of that already. In the last six months, I have published 179k words and only 62k was written in advance. It can be done with determination, dedication and a reason for doing it.

This is my eighteen-month plan from September 2013:3

Olivia Purley

The Scarlet Sessions (5 books) – December, March, June, September, December – Series ends in December – all 10k words

First Encounters (5 books) – November, February, May, August, November – Series ends in December – all 10k words

New Series (3 books) – January, February, March – Series may end in March, not sure, 10-12k words

 

Grace Harper

Loving Lilly (Geary Brothers Book 2) – September – 75k

Charming Olivia (Geary Brothers Book 1) – January – 64k (I know, book 2 then book 1, I don’t follow the norm)

Stranded at New Year – Short story, 12k – December (unplanned)

Breaking Jane (Geary Brothers Book 3) – April – not started but I have a cover! Roughly 80k words.

Trilogy Book 1 – July – 80k

Trilogy Book 2 – Oct – 80k

Trilogy Book 3 – Jan – 80k

There is one other name, planned single release 80k in November in entirely different genre.

Busy! Yup. I’m addicted to writing. I’m taking advantage while I still want/can do it.

A reason for doing it is the most important thing unless you’re doing it to make money. If that is your motivation, then you may as well change your priorities now. Very few make a decent living from writing and it takes years of hard work. If you want to make money, then you need to be in it for the long haul and have plans in place for the stories you want to write.

Fortunately, my motivation is something entirely different. I could refer back to the confessional, there is a lot rattling around my head, I have lived a brilliant life so far and need to get it out of my head. When I say brilliant, there is heartache and misery and laughter and love and all the things that make up life. I take a snippet of real and weave it into fantasy.

Back to the schedule.

I have a daily target set for me on my app and my journal and never ever stick to it. Sometimes I beat it and sometimes I don’t. What I realised a while ago was not to give myself a hard time over it. I may not stick to my daily word count, but I do stick to my publish dates.

How do I do this?

There is no magical answer except I treat writing and publishing like a business, I have customers, I’ve made promises. There are deadlines and I make sure I do everything I can to reach them. My rolling twelve-month schedule reads like time is running out. The thing is I am easily bored and writing is probably the only thing I truly love doing. I think, what if I lose my sight, what if I chop the end off my finger when cutting onions because I can’t see because they are making me cry. These are random thoughts (I like my random thoughts now, I embrace them and then put them into a story) but I do everything in life on the basis I may never get to do it again.

Morbid, maybe, but I think it’s more about making the most of the time I have.

As mentioned in previous blogs, I work a 42 hour basic week, its highly charged and stressful, especially at the moment. Hence no writing for ten days, it’s the longest time I have gone without writing since I started 18 months ago. I feel guilty and regretful. Guilty because I spent my downtime playing bingo (I love bingo) and not writing or plotting. Regretful because I could have been writing and 15k ahead of where I am now.

So the question I am asking myself is this: If I were traditionally published would I be able to push back publication dates, editing dates, and all the rest of it? I suspect not so why should I do this just because I am self-published?

Because I can, is that enough?

I don’t think so, I have booked a week off work, it starts Monday. On Sunday I fly to Dublin for four days, I am running away to write. The next book I’m writing is set mainly in Dublin and I prefer to write about a city I have been to. My writing target, before I come home, is 30,000 words.

Taking a week off work is extreme but I love writing. Setting a book in a city that I have not been to maybe foolish but I get to travel (my third favourite thing to do).

I’m sure I am going to meet March’s schedule for The Scarlet Sessions Volume II but as for April I think it’s looking more like May for Breaking Jane. Putting myself under too much pressure will make me ill and cranky and we don’t want a cranky Grace. I don’t wish to get into the habit of pushing back as I am fearful I will then keep doing it. I have too many books in my head to be written to start delaying at this point.

Thanks for reading

Grace

X

Harper’s Motto: You will not be everybody’s favourite flavour, but that’s ok, because they will not always be your favourite flavour.   Be who you want to be and you will attract the people who will support you no matter what.

XX

 

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3 comments on “Harper’s Harpings: Why keep to a writing schedule?

  1. You’re a machine! Your commitment is astounding – I really need to mirror some of that work ethic to get The Mayfly finished and out into the world, and one more novel alongside it before year’s end. I wish you every success with getting your wordcount down on paper and released into the wild, as it were!

    Liked by 1 person

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