This time I mean it.


This time last week, I claimed that I would be logging into Scrivener the very next day to begin applying the editing notes I’ve scribbled all over my printed manuscript. There is a problem with setting targets for tomorrow though, and that is of course that tomorrow never comes.

I’m not entirely sure what went wrong really.

I found another great book, How to Grow a Novel by Sol Stein, which really made me think about the extent to which I’ve been writing for my reader rather than just myself. In fact every couple of pages I came across another nugget of wisdom that I felt would enhance my next draft – so much so that I didn’t want to go back to my manuscript until I’d finished it.

I’ve done lots of blogging though. Possibly a bit too much. It’s amazing how the inspiration for blog posts just seems to flow when there’s something else you should be doing.

And then there’s hanging out with Arthur, keeping the house looking vaguely presentable, suddenly getting incredibly paranoid about the mummy tummy that I’m still carrying around with me nearly two years down the line…

You get the picture.

So today, before writing this post, I made sure I actually logged on to Scrivener, opened the first draft of my novel in both its electronic and printed form, and began the process of adding and subtracting and changing words around. And do you know what, it wasn’t so bad.

I think I’ve built it up in my mind so much over the last few weeks that it felt like an almost insurmountable task. I had thought of so many things that needed tweaking that I couldn’t see how I was even going to hold them in my head let alone put them into practice. But then that’s what the post-it notes are for isn’t it?

There’s another book I’ve picked up – Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott – which I’m going to try to resist reading for the time being. It gets its title though from something the author’s father said to her then ten year old brother who was agonising over a project on birds that he had to complete. The sage advice which I plan to hold on to over the next few weeks was “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

I still have some more specific research to do, but I’m not going to let that stop me working through my manuscript. I actually enjoyed it this morning, way more than I thought I would – now that I have a pretty clear idea of what I’m trying to do it’s pretty satisfying playing around with the words until it starts to fall into place.

I’m going to set myself a loose goal of a chapter a day. I know some days will be better than others, and different chapters need different amounts of work. But I need some sort of target to keep me working, and it’s most definitely time to get this edit properly underway.

And this time, I mean it.


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28 thoughts on “This time I mean it.

  1. Sadie Hanson

    I really enjoyed reading this….. I have just begun my second draft, and so far I am really enjoying the process. It has a very different feel to the original draft and my characters have really evolved now so their voices feel more authentic. I have wondered about scrivener but also worry about tying myself in knots with it – I’m such a luddite! :o) ….. love the name of that book, Grow Your Novel – conjures up images of pouring water over 365 pages of paper and letting the sun do the rest! It’s great that you’re simply getting on with it Bird by Bird :o)

    1. sophieblovett Post author

      It’s a great book – but the process certainly isn’t quite that simple! 😉 I would really recommend Scrivener- it’s so simple, and I think way easier than trying to juggle everything in word. X

  2. maddy@writingbubble

    Great post – it actually just made me want to sit down and have a chat with you about it all. There were so many times I was thinking ‘I know what you mean!’ or ‘oh that sounds interesting..’ Anyway, in lieu of the chat, commenting will do. You seem to have a knack for finding good writing books – I’ll be adding these to my list too.

    I love the idea of taking it ‘bird by bird’ as I think it’s easy to get overwhelmed at many points in the process of writing a novel. But taking it bird by bird makes it more manageable. It sounds like you are making progress now you’ve logged on to scrivener. Sometimes taking the first step is the hardest but once you’ve started you can get on a roll! Good luck with your ‘chapter a day’ target and thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting xx

    1. sophieblovett Post author

      I think the main reason I’m loving this linky, other than it giving me the excuse to reflect on my writing, is the brilliant dialogues that are starting to open up with fellow writers. I realise a meet up would be tricky to coordinate, but it would be fun! X

  3. deskmonkeymummy

    Go go go! I know what you mean about dreading opening Scrivener. Tonight I cannot think about it, even though my characters are in my head going “You said you were going to give us new scenes, woman. Get on with it!” Procrastination is ace, isn’t it?
    Thank you for joining in with our #whatimwriting linky again x

    1. sophieblovett Post author

      Your characters just made me smile 😊 There always seems to be something that gets in the way if I let it – I’m determined to start being really strict with myself! X

      1. deskmonkeymummy

        I hope you’ve been having a productive week so far! I don’t think it’s as daunting as it looks once you get going, but that first foot in the water takes a lot of courage. x

  4. Funky Wellies

    I know exactly how you feel, so many “things” can get in the way of writing… You do seem pretty determined though, go for it!
    Oh, and I totally recommend “Bird by Bird”, which I read not long ago. 🙂 xx

  5. Mummy Tries

    ‘Bird by bird’ is great advice when you have a big task ahead of you. A chapter a day sounds great, and I bet by the end of the month you’ll have made a massive dent.

    I can’t believe how fast you manage to read books, as well as being a mum and writing and editing and everything else you do. I need to start finding the time to read, but at the moment everything else seems to be more important. This is the problem when you have such a small amount of time… and why I end up writing at 4am 😉

    Really enjoyed your update lovely, best of luck with this week xxx #whatimwriting

    1. sophieblovett Post author

      Thank you 🙂 Finding time to read is not easy – for some reason I find slotting the writing in works much more smoothly! I think my years of teaching honed my multitasking skills though – quite often I’ll grab a page or even a paragraph in between entertaining Arthur. I’m not reading as much fiction as I’d like though (or, um, any…) – my idea of bliss would be to have the time to finish a novel! X

  6. Emily Organ

    I think a chapter a day is a great goal, especially if they’re fairly short chapters! It’s definitely a good way of making progress with your writing as it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by a novel. And some days go better than others, it’s best not to dwell on the days it doesn’t go so well. I find I’m pleased when I reach a good word count but then it scares me as I then have so much to edit and rewrite. Good luck with it, I’m finding this linky is great for finding other people who are trying to plug away at getting some writing done each day : )

  7. aimeehorton

    You can do it! Do you use the target thing in scrivener? I found this more motivating then I anticipated as it showed me how many words I would end up doing a day if I slacked! x

  8. Sara (@mumturnedmom)

    I’m taking note of all these books that people are recommending, I’m going to have a huge reading list! Tomorrow never does come does it! I am the queen of procrastination… Good luck with this next stage xx #whatimwriting

  9. Honest Mum

    Us writers love procrastination don’t we but you’ve been busy exercising your creative muscles and it is all interrelated after all. As a freelancer I always have lots of plates spinning, a TV project in development with a well know company, the blog ( a full time job), video work-always a juggle and if I don’t have a deadline I don’t seem to work as effectively. I need pressure! Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts x

    1. sophieblovett Post author

      You’re right – being busy is a good way of finding more time to do things 🙂 My writing muscles have definitely been keeping in shape through the blogging. Even more important though are all the lovely people I’m getting to know who help me keep going when the going gets tough! X

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