But, where do you find motivation when there is so much work in front of you?
During NaNoWriMo, I sat down daily and wrote. I hit my goal number of words or more each day. Every day was different. Some were easy. Some were hard, desperately hard. But, at the end of 30 days I had a complete first draft. NaNoWriMo provided the motivation. A deadline loomed and I had to get the work done.
I lived by deadlines for many years as a journalist working small newspapers. The work had to get done. If you missed the deadline, the story didn’t run, or was incomplete. If you couldn’t make the deadlines, you risked your job, your paycheck. A lot of motivation there. That’s one reason I’ve done well with NaNoWriMo. The deadline kept me focused.
But, now I have the rewrite, edit, revision, and rewrite leg of the job in front of me. This is hard work and a lot of it. There is so much to do it seems overwhelming. It’s hard to get the motivation to sit down and get to work. Where do I start?
First, break it down. Set a schedule and work on one chapter at a time. Or, one scene at a time. Start at the beginning.
Breaking down a job to smaller, bite-sized chunks makes it look less daunting. Get this chapter rewritten. Take a break. Come back and work on the next one. Pretty soon, you’re on the last chapter.
But, that’s just the first pass. Now you print it all out and hand it to your first reader. You can take a break for a while until the suggestions, corrections, and revisions come back from the first reader.
Then it starts all over again.
Revise, revise, revise
As with the first pass, break it down again and start working through it. Chapter by chapter. Scene by scene. This should go more quickly since you now have a second person’s marks and revisions to work against.
When you get to the end this time, you think you’re done. Right? Wrong.
Now you package up the work and get it to an editor. Since I use Scrivener, this means compiling the work to a format an editor can accept. For this, I compile to a manuscript format and export to a Word document (.doc or .docx). This phase gets you ready to submit to a publisher or agent, or self-publish. In the past, my editor would mark up the work and send me two or three chapters at a time. I’d make the corrections, revisions and rewrites as required and send the updated material back.
This process worked well because we took a part of the work and dug in, then moved on to the next part. We didn’t try to tackle the whole thing at once. We still worked through the book more than once.
This can all take several months. Yeah, the first draft took 30 days. But, that was a solid, directed effort, with my internal editor turned off. The rest takes a lot more time.
And, guess what? If you submit to a traditional publisher and get accepted, you’ll work with another editor and revise, revise, revise. Even if you self-publish, you may go through a few more revisions before putting the book up for sale.