September’s writing – highs and lows

typewriterFrom a writing point of view, September did not go the way that I planned. In terms of my success at Bloody Scotland’s Pitch Perfect, it far exceeded expectations and I’m still really skippy about that. It’s given me objective reassurance that I’m not completely clueless and the confidence to actually call myself a writer. That’s been news to a lot of people as hardly anyone knew that I was scribbling away. I’ve had lots of lovely tweets and emails from other writers and publishing people that I know and I feel very inspired to crack on.

However, straight after Pitch Perfect – on the way home from Stirling in fact – I came down with the most horrible cold and although it’s more than two weeks later I still feel quite rough. In fact, as I type this, I can feel the resurgence of the rasping sore throat and I have my fingers crossed (metaphorically obviously, as that would make typing really uncomfortable) that I’m not going to relapse back into the coughing, sniffling state that I was.

The upshot of this germ-riddled condition is that I’ve done next to no writing as my brain has felt like cottonwool. I tried one day last week and it was the hardest 200 words I’ve ever written and looking back at it the next day, it was probably 200 of the dullest, most turgid words I’ve ever written.

So I’m shovelling down zinc and cod liver oil and mainlining hot Ribena (nearest thing to penicillin that you can get without a prescription) and hoping that October will be a better month for writing. To that end, in the hope that organisation will triumph over lurgy, I have a list…

  • I’m currently dismantling Version 1 of the novel and putting it back together with a stronger structure. I think I’ve pretty much cracked it but I plan to polish up the detailed outline (about 5k words) that I’ve mapped out and then give it to a couple of my beta readers for their thoughts – if there’s a plot hole, they’ll spot it.
  • Next, I need to break down the outline into a chapter plan in Scrivener. I’ll write about Scrivener in more detail another time but I couldn’t write without it. Obviously I could, but it would take longer and require endless scrolling and opening of different files whereas with Scrivener, everything is in front of me and to check a detail in a previous chapter or something in my notes takes two clicks at most. The best 40 bucks I’ve ever spent.
  • I also have a few pages of scribbled notes for the opening chapter and it would be good to spend some time redrafting those. If I can get the opening right then the rest of the novel will flow better. Everyone advises not to edit until you’ve finished the first draft but I need that first chapter to feel right before I can get going.
  • Aside from novel-writing, I need to get back to the blogging routine I was establishing. I have some book reviews to finish, a couple of author interviews to edit and post, some bloggers to finalise details of guest posts with and so on. I think I’ll try to block off a day this week for blog admin.

That all feels quite achievable, even allowing for a couple of poorly days on the sofa watching Miss Marple reruns…

What are your goals for October?

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