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Sarah Hoyt


April 2, 2013 - 2:00 pm
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Time And Writing Wait For No Man (Or Woman)

Believe it or not, when you’re a freelance writer, even if you’re working for someone else, you’re still expected to manage your time.

So let’s start by admitting we’re not going to have a novel ready in 13 weeks, since most of you – I presume – haven’t started.

The reason for this is that I was going along and doing preliminaries to the “13 weeks” posts when my editor – wisely – thought perhaps you guys needed to know when to expect the posts. Ahem. Being a writer, this had never occurred to me. One sometimes forgets that not everyone lives in one’s head.

So… we are still in the preliminary posts. I think I have two more, unless questions arise. And then we’ll start the countdown of 13 actual weeks, from beginning page of novel to end.

By then you should have a notion of whether you want to plot or fly by the seat of your pants, what your projected novel length is, and how to plan how much you need to write each week.

See, when we talk about planning your timing, in writing, it means two things: the timing of events in the novel, and the timing of your writing so you can deliver on deadline.

And yes, I’m aware that just like a lot of you will have different preferences when it comes to how a novel is timed – slow and languorous, or a mad cavalcade from beginning to finish – a lot of you will have this idea that you don’t time when you write, it just sort of happens when the muse descends from heaven and sits on your shoulder to whisper sweet nothings in your ear.

For the record, I’ve never met a professional, working writer who works on the muse-installment plan. There are some who will tell you they do in public. This is part of what we call keeping up the mystique, also known as “baffling the mundanes.”

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Hemingway dedicated two hours a day, three hours tops, to writing and look at what he accomplished. He was an early riser, immediately went to his writing desk and wrote from 6 AM to 8 AM. He was freshest at that time of day and could give the kind of total attention to the task that writing demanded of him. Essentially his days were free after that for him to live the Hemingway legend of travel, bullfights, safaris and big game fishing. It was the day in day out early morning discipline that made a two-in-one life possible.
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So what do you do when a main character turns out to be someone completely different when you start writing them down?
1 year ago
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