What have you learned?

I’m coming up on making another one of my major goals for ROW80, and it’s time to ask myself a basic question that I think is important to ask every now and then: What have I learned?

The first draft of my short story is done. The story itself isn’t; it still needs revision, but close enough. So what have I learned?

  1. I don’t need to outline a short story. I did last summer when I wrote “Time’s Holiday.” Not only did the outlining seem to take forever, but the  story took much longer to write than it should have. So this time, I got an idea and started writing. I worried that the ending wouldn’t come to me and that I’d wind up with a hundred pages of drivel with none in sight. (I have tried to write a novel without an outline, and that’s exactly what happened – only I had six hundred pages of drivel with no ending in sight. I did have fun, though.) But this time, the process worked, and the story’s ending came to me right before I needed it.
  2. 1500 words/week (or 300/day, five days a week), won’t get anything done very quickly, but it will keep things moving forward. I can up this pace – the 2500/week is not unreasonable, and from NaNoWriMo, I know I can do 12,000 words/week. Need to keep working on this after I get the story revisions taken care of.
  3. It doesn’t take long to write 300 or 500 words. Even without an outline, I can get 300 words out in 10-20 minutes.
  4. We don’t need big chunks of time to write – a bunch of little ones will get the job done – see above.
  5. It’s helpful to do some basic research and make some basic decisions up front. I’ve decided to change the setting of my story, so I don’t have to deal with getting the main character from one place to another (which would mess with other things). But the new setting requires research, and that’s going to be the bulk of my revisions. Getting this right up front would have been helpful, and greatly reduced the time needed in revision, but oh well. OTOH, I know better than to do more than minimal research up front. That may work for some people, but for me, it ends up being an excuse to procrastinate getting started writing. I prefer to do most of it after the first draft is written, so I have specific things I can look up.

ROW80Logo175So a lot of learning, and overall, a good week. Here are the details:

  • Design flyer for relative’s small business – Done!
  • Writing: finish short story – Done!
  • Fitness: 5 workouts – partial – got four in

This week, I’m going to keep it simple. I have some boring business stuff on my Weekly Status Report to do, but don’t really want to list that here. I also have stuff going on this coming weekend. So we’ll just stick with:

  • Writing: complete research for short story & and do initial read-through
  • Fitness: 5 workouts

What about you? Whether or not you’re doing ROW80, or whether or not you write, how are you doing with your spring goals? What have they taught you lately? I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

10 Responses to \

  1. I didn’t set any spring goals, but I have learned something recently. That I can work on revisions at the same time as writing a first draft. Those two processes really DO take different parts of the brain!

  2. You go, Stacy! I’ve tried to do that and it didn’t work well for me, but I think my limited time had something to do with it too. Keep up the good work!

  3. Jennette, way to go! Interesting that not outline worked for your short story. Im not sure that would work for me, but it’s been forever since I have written a short story. I, too, cannot do revisions at the same time I’m writing a first draft. Revisions seem to be something I have to be fully immersed in. And having a regular job I have to write around, makes it a challenge to stay fully immersed.

  4. I usually do some minimal outlining even for a short story. I can’t seem to finish anything if I don’t know how it ends when I start! But it isn’t anywhere near as much as I need for a novel.

    I think learning something about your process and works for you is excellent progress! Keep up the good work and have a great week. 🙂

  5. Lynette, working without an outline was scary. But I’m glad I tried it – you might find that, too!

    Ruth, I’ve always been the same way, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try for a short piece. Now a novel, no way!

  6. I’m some mix of plotter and panster. I’ve found that I really shouldn’t spend too much time plotting, because my panster ways are bound to change things. However, without a little plotting, I can’t seem to get started. These are such important things to understand and then not work against. Go us! 🙂
    You’re making great progress, Jennette. Good for you. Hope you have a fabulous week.

  7. Patricia, thanks! I am! 😀

    SJ – you are so right! Understanding our process and where it differs for different types of projects is so helpful. Thanks and good luck to you too!