Discipline, Page Counts & Deadlines

I’m experimenting with applying the disciplined habits of my freelance writing to fiction. Although I don’t think I’ll have be a fiction writer with a daily page count, I’m beginning to see the benefits of such a commitment.

Freelance assignments have always taken precedence over my fiction. It had to be that way for years and even as I try to switch the emphasis in the other direction, I hesitate on my own behalf and still hop to it for my clients. A 700-word rush job article by 2—sure I’ll get it done. (I pulled that one off on Tuesday with a head cold and a cough.) Intriguing captions for the Instagram campaign, a business-to-business book proposal, and the tricky to word responses to negative publicity… all occupy the front burner while a novel and a short story simmer in the back.

On Saturday I finally moved the story to the front. I wrote the entire first draft in one sitting and then I reworked it on Sunday. Is it good? I can’t be objective—yet. But the point is that by making the story the priority, I got it done and there’s a lesson there.

I’ve sent the new Candy’s Monsters novella to two alpha readers. Next week I have a phone appointment with a book doctor/editor to discuss my new M.O. for a novel that has been knocking around in one form or another for an unconscionable length of time.

In other words, it’s time to get serious about fiction.

Does that mean giving myself deadlines and page counts? Maybe it does. Does it mean using the discipline I’ve developed as a professional writer for OTHER people’s projects for my own work? YES!


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