So…you’re drafting a manuscript. First of all, that’s awesome. Once you finish this monster of a project, you’re going to feel like a real superhero (even if you aren’t, which is fine, because those guys can be real divas (but I never said that)). Of course, if you’re like me, that manuscript isn’t the only thing going on. Here I am, wanting to write some more of my WIP, when I also have to edit my last manuscript, write up some blog posts, try to get Steve to hang out with me – ALL while doing classified work for S.H.I.E.L.D. I’ll be at the most emotional scene, typing up a storm, when I get a buzz about a 0-8-4 forty miles away and need to gather my guys to investigate.
Like most of you, I’d love to lock myself in my room and write for hours straight, but that’s not possible. Hydra’s not going to wait until your main characters finally act upon that romantic tension between them, that’s for sure. We have to find a way to balance drafting with the rest of our lives so a bunch of people don’t, you know, die.
There are a couple ways to track your drafting. You can set a daily manageable goal for yourself. Sure, there might be some of you that can crank out eleven thousand words a day, but you don’t have an eye-patched, possibly unstable man making sure you’re doing your real job correctly. If – between saving lives, being dragged around by your men, and trying to squeeze in some sleep – you find that you can only write 500 words a day, that’s fine too. We all have different amounts of free time. So, find the number that works for you. Or don’t even bother with a number. Just make it your goal to write something every day. Any amount of progress is still progress, and that applies to drafting just as much as it applies to missions.
That said, if you do miss a day of drafting, it’s not the end of the world. I should know, as I’ve been through my fair share of “end of the world” type situations. Don’t get discouraged; don’t give up for that reason. If you want your draft finished, you’ll get there. Besides, we all have those an alien race is trying to destroy the planet and I’m stuck babysitting a ragtag group of superheroes that double as our only hope days. The important thing is not to write what others say is the best amount to write while drafting, it’s to write whatever you can.
Regardless of what your MC will whisper to you at night, you can’t be drafting all the time. Yeah, I get that not all of us have double lives and a lot of top secret responsibilities, but we all have something that continuously pries us from our laptops. Don’t freak out too much. Taking some time out of your day to do other things, like reading, might make you a better writer – even if you need to give up some of that precious drafting time.
It's all about balance.
If S.H.I.E.L.D consisted of a bunch of Nick Fury’s, we’d be too busy bashing heads to get anything done. If we only had Maria Hill’s, things would get done, but I’m pretty sure there would be no smiling. It’s the balance of different personalities that has us being successful. For the most part. And the same thing can apply to our drafting.
You need to put time in your day to work on drafting – but also fit in everything that needs to be done. Just because you have to deal with protecting the world from danger doesn’t mean you can’t finish this draft. You can work, read, write and save the world – you just need to find that balance.
There’s no set way to do this and different days bring different challenges. It’s all about what works for YOU. So set writing goals, put on a timer, write on napkins if you have to. You’ll get that draft done, don’t feel like you need to give up your whole life to do it.
Just, you know, some of it.
As for me, I’m amount to hit my goal of 1,500 words for today…
Nevermind. Got a call from Fury, but that’s classified.