It’s month two of my draft 2.5 plan and I’m actually pleased with my progress. That’s a first; I’m usually woefully despondent about my writing process, but this plan is actually working for me and I think I’ve found a system that finally works for me. How does it work? Well, during the last read-through, I made copious notes and relied on notecards to outline major plot points and things that need fixing. I then read through those notes and drafted a detailed outline based on the novel as a whole–what needs to be moved/cut/rewritten, what needs rethinking, etc. It took a good two days to develop this outline, but it helped me get a feel for the edits to come.
Next, I wrote up a schedule, allotting myself 1-2 hours of writing time on Mondays-Thursdays (because that’s really all the time I can squeeze in on a regular weeknight). Fridays are free days to refresh and reenergize after the weekday grind. I block off a minimum of 3 hours on Saturday and Sunday–this means telling my loved ones that I’m off-limits between the hours of 10am-2pm (give or take). Weekends tend to be good days. I start my morning with a walk or yoga and then have a filling breakfast to keep me going until the afternoon.
During the week, I work on 2 chapters. I start by doing a quick read-through, reviewing the main outline and drawing up a list of what needs fixing in those two chapters. This helps me stay on task as I’m writing and keeps me from feeling overwhelmed by the drama of making so many changes.
Using this method, I’ve edited the first third of the novel with surprising ease. Even the rough patches have been easier to smooth over than when I try to edit as I read. It’s a new method for me, but one that I can see myself using in future. Later this month, I will be away for a week; my goal is to have the next 5 chapters done before then (cutting them down to 3), so I can read through the first part before starting in on next month’s round. It sounds slow, but it’s actually going a lot faster than I anticipated.