CSG Part Two: Devotion on a Schedule

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's Valentine's Day, and today we're talking about devotion! In this case, we're going with the second and third definitions given by Dictionary.com for this word: "earnest attachment to a cause, person, etc." and "an assignment or appropriation to any purpose, cause, etc."

We must ask ourselves:
  1. Am I devoted to my manuscript/story?
  2. Am I willing to devote time to my manuscript/story?
If you answered "yes" to both of these questions, then you're right on track with part two of the game plan I started outlining last week for finishing your manuscript! (Click HERE to read Part One: A Companion for the Journey.)

Again, I want to add that I am not yet a published author, and I'm currently working on my first manuscript. So these tips I'm sharing with you are just things I've been learning along the way!

And now for the S in the CSG plan: Schedule.

One of my New Year's resolutions for 2011 is to finish my manuscript by May 31st. But I know that this year will be no different from any other previous year in fulfilling this dream if I don't actually sit down and write. Thinking about the story, planning the plot, and doing research are all wonderful and necessary activities, but if I'm ever going to have something to hand to an editor or agent, all those thoughts, plans, and historical tidbits are going to have to make their way from my mind to my computer!

Now, a writing schedule can look different for each person. For example, a full-time published author (ie: an author who writes for a living) would most likely want to schedule in hours of writing almost every day. But for those who are working full-time at another job or are full-time students, writing every day is not only a daunting and frightening idea, but it's also impractical.

So what are those of us in the second category supposed to do? To be honest, it depends. Sometimes we have to wait, because writing can't be a top priority then. God, family, and work must come first. But sometimes we actually do have the time, but until now we've chosen to fill it with other activities that are definitely not priorities.

This semester, the opportunity has presented itself to me, and so I've made a schedule. Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday morning, I sit down in front of my laptop and type. My goal is usually at least 700 words, but sometimes I write a little less or a little more. The point is that the goal is practical, and I'm getting something onto that blank page. I think it's important to celebrate those small victories!

Since I had already written a good "chunk" of my story before beginning this new year, I think this schedule will help me meet my goal of finishing my manuscript before June. (After that--editing, polishing, and writing a proposal!)

Sometimes the words don't really flow well. I have to sit for a while and write bit by bit. A walk can be inspiring, and, of course, spending devotional time with God beforehand.

The point is, no matter how much I write or how much time I can set aside, I need to write. Pray, and then just do it! I think you'll be surprised by the results. On days when I think that a scene isn't going to turn out very well because I started out with only a vague idea in my mind, I am often excited by what ends up on the page.

And why is that? First of all, God is in control, and if He wants this story to be told then I just need to tell it and trust Him to work all the details out to His glory. And second, I personally feel devotion for this story.

If you love your characters and the story they're a part of, then you'll be drawn into their world and your love will show through your words. Your devotion will keep you going and help you stick to your schedule. So don't be afraid to keep your devotion on a schedule!

Do you have a writing schedule, whether you're published or unpublished? Does it work well for you? If you don't have a schedule, can you think of certain days of the week when you can set aside time just for writing?

(If you can't already tell from the pictures I included, I'm a fan of certain PBS Masterpiece programs/movies! These are characters a person can fall in love with for sure! The images are from the PBS Masterpiece website.)

13 comments:

Julia M. Reffner said...

Oh, I'm so with you here. I think this is part of why the Lord had me set aside most reviewing. I was putting a large chunk of my writing time into something that wasn't forwarding my MS.

My key is actually putting it in my schedule. :)

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

Hey Julia,

It's funny you should say that...I had to set aside some of my freelance editing for exactly the same reason! A large chunk of my writing time was going to editing the work of others. Not only that, when I finally did get around to working on my own stuff, I was mentally and emotionally tired. That's why Amber's article is so timely. Scheduling time to write is a problem I think many authors struggle with, published or not.

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

Great pics, Amber! Did you notice that Pride and Prejudice (the Keira Knightly version) was on this weekend?

Sandra Robbins said...

Great post, Amber! I had a tough time trying to schedule my writing when I was working. When I'd come home at night, I'd be too tired to think about it. Now that I no longer have a day job, I spend my days at the computer. That makes it possible for me to concentrate on what I'm writing at the moment. And I get to set my own hours.

And yes, Lisa, I noticed that Pride and Prejudice was on this weekend. In fact I watched it AGAIN. I have no idea how many times I've seen this movie, but I love it. I almost have the dialogue memorized. I not only love the movie, but the music is also wonderful. I got on iTunes last night and found the soundtrack. That's going to be my next purchase for my iPod.

Sandra Robbins

S. Dionne Moore said...

I approach my writing differently than most, I guess. I have a daily word count goal--usually 2500 to 5K. I can work for two hours, or eight, depending on how long it takes me to reach goal. Good days might put me over goal, which means that I can option to decrease the next days goal in favor of play time, or I can push for the same word count and hope I go over that day as well, netting me an entire free day at the end of the week! Woo-hoo.

It's all in finding the method that works best and most motivates us to finish a manuscript.

Amanda said...

This is a wonderful post, Amber! Your devotion to the craft is inspiring and I know it will encourage unpublished and published alike! And I am so very proud of you for all the scenes you keep turning out and for sticking to your schedule. God certainly is in control of all that concerns you. I know you're going to make a wonderful published author someday soon and I know the Lord will continue to help you hone the incredible gift He has given you. You are such an example to me, as I'm sure you are to many others, and it is a blessing to see the Lord working in and through you :)

God bless you, dear friend!
Amanda

Amber S. said...

Julia,

I'm glad we're on the same page. :) I understand about the reviews... I think I should be a bit more careful about that, as well, because it seems I'm having a harder time now keeping up with all the reviews I sign up for!

I hope you can find a good time (or various times per week) to schedule in writing time! :) Thanks for stopping by!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Lisa,

I'm glad you thought the post was timely! :) And aren't these images great? Gotta love PBS Masterpiece! ;)

I didn't notice they were showing Pride and Prejudice this weekend. Very cool! I actually have it on DVD, so any time I want to see it again, it's right here. :) I love that version!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Sandra R.,

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :) I didn't really schedule writing time until the last month or so, but I'm so glad I finally did! It works out well now, but there are times it's much harder. I'm glad you have more time to focus on writing now. :)

And that movie is wonderful, isn't it? I have the soundtrack; very sweet and lovely. :)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Sandra M.,

Wow--ambitious! Way to go! That's a lot of writing. :)

I like what you say here:

"It's all in finding the method that works best and most motivates us to finish a manuscript. "

There is no one writing schedule that will fit each person, so I agree that it's good once each writer finds the schedule/method that works for him/her. :)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Amanda,

Awww, thank you so much! That means so much to me coming from my dear, sweet writing companion. :) Thank you for all of your encouragement, support, and kindness! YOU are the wonderful example to me. :) You are such an encourager, and your reviews, comment, e-mails, etc. are all beautiful!

Thank you for being here for me, and if it's God's will, I look forward to sharing the journey through publication with you, as well. :)

~Amber

Julia M. Reffner said...

Thanks, Amber!

Elizabeth, Its good to know this is a struggle all the way along. Helps me to prepare myself. Sometimes I think of the "freelancing" as "paving my way" in these beginning years but I forget that if I'm not taking the time to write then I'm missing out on the whole journey.

ibrand said...

Thanks for the invitation to stop by. You certainly have a good presentation of authors and their work. It is a step forward in promoting Christian fiction.
Irene Brand

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