Update: Novel Writing

HabitRPGAvatarFirst: I intend to finish my post series on “Scrivener v. iOS” Real Soon Now.

Meanwhile, friends, I thought I’d bring you up to date with how the novel writing goes.

Right now, it’s going quite well. That doesn’t mean that 2014 hasn’t brought challenges.

At the beginning of February, I came to the conclusion that if I continued with the non-progress I was making on “Leticia,” I was going to be dead before it was published. Said death would be hastened by my complete lack of exercise, poor diet, and extremely poor sleeping habits, not to mention spending more than eight hours per day playing video RPGs.

So I started from, not zero, but about negative fifteen on a scale of one to ten. I started February 2nd. I pulled together a pastiche of techniques I’ve learned over decades and often ignored. Artist’s Way, Franklin Planner, GTD, talking to friends (gasp!), and Seinfeld chains are some of the more prominent chunks. I also started using a variety of tools, including Penultimate, Pocket Informant, HabitRPG.com, Goal Streaks, and Evernote in no particular order.

Net result: I’ve written Morning Pages (from Artist’s Way) in Penultimate 21 of 25 days this month. That jump-started the whole process. I started using a light visor (which had lain gathering dust for nearly a year) to regulate my sleeping. I’ve cobbled together a Franklin Planner implementation out of Evernote and Pocket Informant. I’m sending all my “to-do” emails to Evernote, and anything else I think of to do, I snap a photo, and put it into Evernote. My novel notes now reside in Evernote (Scrivener has links to them). To work on something like a character sketch, I sync the relevant note to Pocket Informant with a reminder and date, edit the note right in PI, and check it off there.

But the true game changers were:

  1. Talking to a friend, who gave me the needed boot in the butt to make some effort to correct course in late January.
  2. Recording how I really spent my time, which I did for the first week of February.
  3. Making a concerted effort to implement Seinfeld Chains. (For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, Jerry Seinfeld famously attributed his success as a comic to marking each day he wrote a joke on a year-long calendar, and then not breaking the chain of marks.)

It seems silly, but the visual feedback of seeing those chains has really helped. I now have 9 days of exercise, 8 days of absolutely clean Paleo eating, and (hardest of all) 8 days of completing a tangible step towards publication.

It’s hard to be a tortoise — slow and steady. I’ve always been the hare, sprinting ahead (usually under fear of dire consequences,) and then burning out halfway to my goal. Moving ahead towards publication, I fight fear every time I take a step. Nonetheless, I will reach publication — by walking there, one day and one step at a time.

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