On Finding Time to Write, Compiling an Editorial Calendar, and Outlining a Series

Most of my deadlines for July is now past, and I’m looking forward to August! I always feel around this time of the year that we are now only on a runaway train headed for Christmas, which is compounded by working on summer articles when it’s supposed to still be winter. Yes, I am still saying that this is a very mild Highveld winter. And I’m still living in summer clothes, with perhaps a shawl or light jersey on my way to work.

Two somethings that went wrong

Speaking of work; those who follow the blog will know that I usually write before work (I also miss all the traffic in this way. Two birds…). However, I’ve become very lax indeed in just getting up on time. I’ve been blaming it on the darkness in the morning, but have had a feeling that it’s something else. It turned out to be two somethings. 

Well, it turned out that I’ve been so ill because of a med that was upped and did not agree with me at all at that level and that it wasn’t just the normal side-effects you get the first week or so. That’s sorted now, though. Ah, the joy of psychiatric meds sometimes! (Please don’t comment with reasons why I shouldn’t be taking meds.)

The other something was that my iron levels had plummeted again as I didn’t take iron while I was ill from the other med. Oops. So, for the past four days I’ve been drinking my iron capsules again and am slowly getting my energy back. I’m just glad my iron isn’t iron-transfusion-low again. Sometimes I think my body is hallucinating that it’s 100-years-old.

But enough about boring medical stuff and on to the point that I’m actually trying to get to. Seeing as how I’m well on the mend again, I looked at the work that I’ve been doing (well, the fiction writing) and saw that it wasn’t as much as I had thought. So I knew I had to make some changes if I actually want to get The Knowledge Stones out in the next few months…

Carving Out Time for Your Writing & an Editorial Calendar

A few months ago, I got the course Carving Out Time for Your Writing by Dean Wesley Smithas part of a Storybundle bundle. The first time I watched it, I already felt that I could definitely get more writing done, and then the above happened. So, now that I’m feeling human again, I’ve watched the course again to see what I could do and habits I could change to get my writing done and stop tinkering about.

This course is absolutely wonderful and definitely doesn’t sugar coat the different ways in which you can carve out time to write and how much you can actually get done if you just use your time wisely.

The main thing I think I need to do is to do better time management … it kind of fell by the wayside these past few weeks and I’m completely out of my normal routine. I’ve also been spending far too much time scrolling away on Instagram and Twitter again without doing much of anything on the platform but lurking.

I’ve also made an editorial calendar and actually wrote it on the wall calendar in order to follow it while also seeing the bigger picture. Before I’d write what I’d need to do in my diary, but I would not see the big picture; only what I needed to do on those specific two days (it’s a page-a-day diary). Now I just need to force myself to keep to the calendar, get back into my routine, and let it become habit again.

Outlining a Series

Okay, so I’ve also been honest with myself about the reason why I can’t seem to just sit down and finish the outline for The Ruon Chronicles. It’s not so much not knowing how to outline, it has more to do with being scared that it’ll suck so bad that anyone who downloads a copy will have their screen melt right in front of them. Yes, I’m being that dramatic.

So, to that end, I’ve given myself August to outline the series. That’s it. Thirty-one days to an outline of the series. And then I have to finish the writing of The Knowledge Stones by November so that I can write book two for NaNoWriMo and actually know what I’m going to write and not just pants the thing.

The good thing about the outline is that I basically have The Knowledge Stones (book 1) and the following novella (Grove of Graves) in the bag when it comes to outlining. What I really need to work on are the books that will come after Grove of Graves.

I already have a lot of the story in my head, though, so it’s not just me thumb-sucking everything in The Knowledge Stones and hoping for the best. And this already makes me feel better. I’ll also give my outline to some of my writer-friends to have a look at to see that it actually makes sense and doesn’t just make sense to me.

Patreon updates and early chapters!

I will then post the chapters of The Knowledge Stones — along with some notes — on Patreon as I go along. These will be Patron-only posts, but will be open to everyone; that is to say from the $1 tier. Patrons will, therefore, get a proper behind-the-scenes look as the book unfolds.

This will only happen from mid-August, though. I also need to update my Patreon page to show these changes, which I will do during the first week of August. So I’ll do a shoutout on the blog when my Patreon page is ready.

Medium articles

Lastly, I have also included Medium articles on the editorial calendar. I already have quite a few ideas for these articles. Unlike the blog which has mostly fiction, I will post my creative non-fiction and non-fiction on Medium. As I’m new on the platform I’m still very much finding my feet, but I’m loving what other people and specifically other writers are doing with their Medium pages.

Bring it on, August!

Basically, as you can probably tell, I feel energised and motivated and also have energy to do some proper work on my own projects again!

By Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.

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