Add or Chop?

What to do if your manuscript word count is too low:

  1. Consider making it book one in a series.
  2. Publish it as a novella.
  3. Reread your manuscript. Are there places you can add a scene? A chapter? 
  4. Could you write a prologue? An Epilogue?

What to do if your manuscript word count is too high:

  1. Reread your manuscript. Look for ways to use more concise vocabulary in order to say what you intend, but with less words.
  2. Eliminate repetition. Especially in cases where you are revealing your character’s inner thoughts.
  3. Split your book in two, making the second half another book in your “new” series.
  4. Remove some of your content (especially in non-fiction or self-help books) and use the “extra” content in a blog, short story, etc.

Revisit, Rethink, Revise, Rewrite

A lot can happen between January and April. A writing plan that is made at the beginning of the year, without revision, will simply not take us past spring, into summer and beyond. It’s time to revisit, update and, if necessary, rewrite.

Let’s ask ourselves these questions: Is my plan still working? Is it still realistic? What has changed in my life since the plan was written? Do those changes affect my being able to carry out the plan? If so, what needs to be adjusted?

Here is what I have found. The culprit in my efforts to keep to plan is time. When I wrote my plan in January, I failed to factor in time necessary for research, webinars, and writing-related reading. I hadn’t allowed for the hours necessary for completing submissions. And finally, I had scheduled so many hours of writing, that I hadn’t left enough time available for my personal life—attending family dinners, movies with my husband, walking the dog.

So, perhaps I need to write a life plan that includes devotions, writing, exercise, volunteering, family/friends activities, housework, and leisure. Writing can be a large part of that plan, but I need to allow for the unplanned, too—that surprise visit from Aunt Martha, an unexpected phone call, a refrigerator on the fritz.

This quarter, I am going to tackle this time problem, once and for all. First, I am not answering the door or the phone during my scheduled writing time. I’m going to take advantage of voicemail, email, and texting by answering once my writing time is completed.  Secondly, I am building in an hour of flex time into my day—time for the previously unexpected, which I am now going to dub the “expected interruptions.” I don’t know exactly when they will come, but I do know with a fair degree of certainty that they will come. And when they do, I’ll be ready.

I am hoping this new daily plan will keep me from getting frazzled and help me meet my husband at the door with a smile, rather than the wild-eyed look I have been famous for these last few months. And, oh yes, I am setting up a reward system. I am giving myself a little reward at the end of each day that I actually keep to my plan. Time to pleasure read, calling a friend and chatting (yes, a real conversation, not a text), enjoying lemonade on the patio, and watching a favorite television show are on my short list.

Your problem may not be time. Yours may be self-motivation or organization. No matter what they are, problems will remain problems, unless we meet them head on.

It all starts with a plan. A plan that is tweaked often so that we can better reach our writing goals. A plan that is rewarded in increments so that we are encouraged to keep on writing on a daily basis.

Someone will write words that will inspire others for generations to come. Will they be yours?