Here We Go Again…

It’s almost time for New Year’s resolutions, and once again, at the top of my list is to finish the sequel to The Red Kimono. (Me thinks this is Year 3, but it’s possible this is Year 4.)

I bring this up now, because I found a good article by Stephen King on Twitter this morning, where he lists his Top 20 Rules for Writers. Take a look, then guess which one appealed to me most.

Time’s up. It was Rule #10:

You have three months.

That’s Mr. King shouting at me. He adds:

The first draft of a bookโ€”even a long oneโ€”should take no more than three months, the length of a season.

jan thinkingSo, what if I gave myself three months to finish the sequel? I work best under pressure. Maybe that would help. It would be a huge challenge, now that I’m working full time. But even if I didn’t make it, I’d get a bunch of pages added. Right? Right.

(That’s me talking to myself.)

The piece of advice he gave that would help me most to accomplish this goal is Rule #9:

Turn off the TV.

He’s still yelling at me.

It’s not that I watch that much television. But what if I told myself I couldn’t watch any more television until the book is finished? I’ve never tried that before. Can I do it?

I’ve also started listening to Kelly McGonigal’s audiobook, The Willpower Instinct. It’s a fascinating look at focusing not so much on our goals, but on what causes us to fail in achieving those goals. I’m sure I’ll blog more on that later.

I haven’t decided yet if I’ll take on Mr. King’s challenge. But I’ll continue talking to myself about the possibilities for 2016. Feel free to add more pressure. And, of course, I’ll keep you posted. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, have a look at Stephen King’s list. It’s a goody on which to end the year.

I wish you all the best for 2016, and may you be successful in keeping your resolutions and attaining your goals!

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14 Responses to Here We Go Again…

  1. Linda Apple says:

    Me thinks you are following rule #16. But he suggests 6 weeks, not 4 years. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jan Morrill says:

      Linda, I was just thinking (and soothing myself) that I’ve had some huge life changes in the last three years–divorce, moving, buying a house, becoming a grandma, a new relationship, losing my mom. But things have settle down for a bit–until next year when I’ll have a new granddaughter and my daughter’s wedding. Still, those are happy events, and IT’S TIME TO BUCKLE DOWN! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I agree with Linda. If you have it mostly written already–even if some of the writing is in your head–it won’t take you very long to finish and get it down on paper/screen ๐Ÿ™‚ I so loved The Red Kimono and look forward to reading the sequel!

  3. Reblogged this on Alice White Author and commented:
    I know where Jan is coming from here, but three months? If I was one of those authors who can speed through a first draft and JUST WRITE it, fair enough. But I’m not. I’m an ” edit as I go” writer., and that takes a little longer for the first draft.

    Why do I do this? Well, I think it is just how I am built. It seems impossible to me to “just write” without correcting things I see are wrong along the way. Errors tend to bug me, fogging up my brain toward any further “inspiration” until they are fixed. But editing a first draft as I go does have it’s advantages, too, despite taking a little longer. With reference to future drafts: They are not only less numerous as a result, but also somewhat less daunting if the first is–again, somewhat–edited already.

    Steven King’s list made me smile, and he has some cracking points to make! Thanks to Jan for posting it, and I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Steve says:

    I’ve never written a book but what works for me in terms of completing a big project is setting and accomplishing specific small goals everyday, making them a very high priority, tracking my progress, avoiding being critical of the daily outcome, and gently getting back on track if I get sidetracked. It takes a few weeks for me to get a commitment to a new habit in place and still, everyday, I usually have to plan times when I’ll “get started,” otherwise my attention will goes elsewhere. I’m most vulnerable to not getting started when I have a “free day,” because I tend then to procrastinate (…is “I’ll have time later.”)

    • Jan Morrill says:

      Steve, you are my mentor when it comes to being dedicated to accomplishing a goal. You set a goal to walk across the country in 2015 (number of steps) and you surpassed your goal by November. I saw your dedication every single day. Perhaps if you coach me…

  5. I’d like to try the “rough draft in 3 months” thing one day… but I need to finish the one I’m working on first. Maybe I’ll get this one finished in the next 3 months, but even that is going to be hard. I just don’t know if I can turn the internal editor off long enough to get it done so quickly.

    • Jan Morrill says:

      The internal editor is my nemesis, too, Madison, but I can’t completely blame her. Because in the last few months, I haven’t even written long enough for that internal editor to scream, “That’s just awful! Re-write it!” ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck to you in 2016!

  6. Stephen King is one of my favorite authors and has been for years. It depends on the genre I’m writing whether I can write it in three or four months or take nearly a year. Historicals take nearly a year because of the research, but a mystery or paranormal set today can take only a few months. Like Alice I’m an edit as I go writer, but that doesn’t mean it’s ready at the end of the first draft. It’s just closer to ready. Thanks, Jan for reminding me of King’s list. I have this book, but hadn’t read it in a while.

    • Jan Morrill says:

      Velda, if I could only take after you in my writing discipline. I’ve always been in awe. This is going to be the year though.

      I guess I’ve had some major changes in my life that I’ve used as excuses, but I’ll bet even with the loss of Don this year, you’ve continued to write. So, I certainly have no excuses.

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