“This week I’m going to finish outlining my mystery.”
I’m part of an accountability group and each week we set goals. Truthfully, I lost track of have often this was my weekly goal. But week after week I made no progress whatsoever. What to do?
Admittedly, my to-do list tends to be way too long. No one could accomplish it. But when one thing gets carried over for about two months, then I know I have a problem. Step 1 in solving said problem is figuring out why it was a problem.
Yes, I’ve been busy but I’m always busy. So that really wasn’t the answer. I didn’t want to keep messing with the outline. I wanted to write. Even after I figured this much out, I didn’t make progress. I was stuck on the thought that I absolutely had to finish that outline.
Finally I realized that I was noodling over individual scenes in detail. Those scenes revolved around one particular plotline. What if I try writing it one plot line at a time?
- I have the mystery plot in which a dead body is found and suspects are investigated.
- I have the church choir subplot. The church choir is what my main character and her sidekicks have in common.
- I have the romance subplot. One sidekick’s older brother is the romantic interest. Unless of course he turns out to be the murderer.
- Then I have a sub plot for each suspect – romantic interest, one sidekick, victim’s wife, the choir director, and a mysterious man spied arguing with the victim.
What if I try working on these one at a time? That’s where I am now. Ultimately, it may not work out. But I have to say that for the first time in two months, I’ve made progress – 750 words on a new chapter. I say new vs first because I know it is not my first chapter. And that’s 750 words in two days. Not too bad given 2 months of nothing.
When you have a project that you truly want to work on but you aren’t making any progress, it’s time to take a look at your goals. Is it your approach that is wrong? The goals themselves? Trying the same thing week after week just isn’t a good idea if you are getting no where fast. Try to figure out what is behind the project and see if you can find a new set of goals to get you moving.