Writing time

My dry erase to-do list from heck.
My dry erase to-do list from heck.

Something hit me last week when I was participating in ReviMo (a picture book revision challenge).  When I signed up, I hoped to have a week free to devote to my rewrites. After all, when I committed to this, I didn’t have any deadlines.

Then my nonfiction writing class was scheduled.  Yep.  It started during the same week as ReviMo.  I couldn’t very well play hooky when I’m the teacher, but it was only one more thing.

Certainly, I could do ReviMo and launch my class.  No problem!

Then I landed an activity writing job. No way was I going to turn this down but that meant that ReviMo was now 1 of 3 things I had to get done in a single week.

One of three.  How was that going to work out?  Actually, pretty well.

  • On the first day, I revised Prey vs Predator, pulling out two spreads I had added to please an editor.  When she didn’t buy the ms., I left them in place in spite of the fact I didn’t like them.  Now they’re gone and I replaced them with two new spreads.
  • On day two, I edited the main body of Prey vs Predator.  I found some repetitive language and weeded that out and I also cut.  That may not sound like much but I cut 140 words from a 910 word main manuscript.
  • On day three, I cut my 300 word back matter by 60 words.  As a whole, the manuscript is now much strong.
  • Day four brought out an astronomy manuscript, Sunrise to Sunset.  I want to rewrite it as a cumulative text but kept getting lost in the details. I spent the day working them into a spreadsheet.  I doing this, I saw that I had a gap and gather what I needed to fill it in.
  • Day five, brought another day with Sunrise to Sunset, creating a whole new draft on index cards.  This saw the creation of a chorus as well as the beginning of the cumulative effect.

Not bad for a week that was chock full of other work.  

The lesson?  I really don’t need a week with no other commitments to make worthwhile progress on a manuscript.  Yes, sometimes a large span of time is necessary, but, more than anything, I just need to do it.  Small time, long time, neither one will make a difference if I don’t sit down and write.



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