One of the things I love about my overall process is that I don’t really have a timeline. I start a story when I start it, and I finish it when I finish it. My timeline doesn’t really come into play until I’ve completed a story — because, for the most part, that’s when the pressure is off ME. Hehe.
When I started my writing journey, I wanted this to be fun for me. I wanted to enjoy what I was doing. And so far, I have. I write when I want or when need to, and when I’m blocked or otherwise at a loss for words, I set whatever I’m working on aside and either work on another story or do something else entirely.
I have that freedom and I love it.
Currently, I’ve got about seven stories I’ve started. Some have 20k words written, some have 100 words written, most are in between. Anyway, I decide which story to tackle based on my mood and which characters are talking to me. When a story is nearing completion, I do try to focus most of my energy on that. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
The most important thing to me is that I don’t force the story to happen. That’s why I don’t do timelines or deadlines when I’m writing. I’m afraid that if I’m under the wire, I’m going to produce crap. That’s not me saying writers with deadlines produce crap, it’s me saying that if I am under the pressure of a deadline, I will produce crap.
However, I might make some loose goals if I feel the end is near. For example, at the time I’m writing this post (it’s a Friday), I’ve got about 5 solid hours left of work to do on Wildflower (JACT 2.5). So I told myself yesterday, “Self, try to finish Joey’s book by Sunday.” Then I proceeded to play on Facebook, make teasers, and do all sorts of other things that had absolutely nothing to do with Wildflower. Reason #2 I wouldn’t make deadlines: I would constantly disappoint myself!
So, I wait until I’m finished with a story before setting up a timeline and my timeline consists of start/end dates for the following processes: re-read/re-write, beta, beta implementation, edit, edit implementation, proofread, send out ARCs, and finally, the release date. Somewhere in there I’ll insert: blog activity sign-up, cover reveal, release blitz/tour, etc. I space the items on this timeline out based on what has been most effective with previous releases, availability of service providers, time of year, length of book, etc.
This process, and all my writing processes, are like living organisms in that they are constantly changing, growing, shrinking, etc. I try different methods until I find what fits and I discover new methods when I’m not even looking. I’ve found that my flexibility is one of the things that makes writing so much fun for me. It keeps things fresh and I don’t get lost to routines.
So tell me…
Authors, what do your timelines look like?
Readers, do you have any processes or hobbies you set up timelines for?