How I’m Staying Motivated While Revising My Novel

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Back at the beginning of June, on the 8th to be exact, I got an idea for a YA Fantasy story about dragons, which is now called Beneath the Empty. I won’t go into too much detail because there’s been a lot of plagiarism lately, but it’s about a princess who has the ability to shift between her human and dragon form. With her dragon guardian by her side, she goes against her mother’s wishes and ventures into enemy territory to figure out why her kind are being killed. Obviously, there’s a lot more to it than that, but that’s how it gets started.

I finished the first draft in October and the second draft in February, but my work wasn’t done there. In that time, I got an amazing critique partner (CP) and several beta readers who have helped me so much. Their help has been invaluable, but I’ll go into detail about why you need a CP and beta readers in another blog post. With their detailed notes, I have started writing the third draft of my book, which is currently sitting at 54,000 words (it was 109,000 at the end of the second draft). So far, they have only read the first half as I was writing the second half while they read it, but after this round of revisions, they will be able to read it all, which makes me slightly nervous.

I’ve lost count on the number of times I have read through my book, but I know it so well and the changes I am making have made it much stronger. However, it hasn’t always been easy to stay motivated, especially when new ideas start to pop into my head (which happened a couple of weeks ago).

Creating an Outline

A few of my betas suggested big changes which would have meant rewriting most of the first act, which was daunting in itself. However, I embraced the changes because I knew it would make the story better and improve character development. One of the ways I managed to stay on track was creating a detailed outline for all the changes I would be making. It’s hard to keep your mind focused when you’re jumping around from document to document, so having everything in one place helped.

I started by going through all my beta readers notes, jotting down all the changes I needed to make, before visualizing what the story needed to be, what I wanted it to be. I wrote down where I needed to expand on details or cut any info-dumping, as well as drafting completely new chapters that hadn’t been there before. The outline I made helped keep me on track instead of feeling like I was losing my mind trying to sort it out.

Setting a Goal

This may not work for everyone, but I am a very goal-oriented person. When I set myself a goal, most of the time I am able to achieve it. When I was first drafting my book, I set myself a target of writing at least 1,000 words a day, which I suppose is the reason I was able to complete the 92,000-word draft within 4 months. Of course, I didn’t always write that much because life gets in the way sometimes and I also went through a low period when I was made redundant at my previous job. But it worked and I decided to set myself a similar goal for this draft.

If I want to finish this draft by the end of March, I need to be writing at least 2,500 words a day. Recently, I’ve been writing more than that because I am at the point in my revision where I can copy and paste certain pieces into the new draft as they don’t need any changes. This will be the case for the second half as I don’t have any beta notes for it, only a few CP ones, but some of the earlier changes will echo through the later chapters, causing dialogue and descriptions to change. At this point, I feel confident I will be able to send the new and improved document to my betas by the end of the month.

Listening to a Playlist

Unfortunately, I can’t write all day, not when I have a job to do and an art commission to finish. Even when I’m not writing, I am still thinking about my characters and the world, and having a playlist dedicated to my book helps a lot. The one I created for Beneath the Empty is full of haunting and cinematic songs which represent the book perfectly. Some songs make me feel emotional and others have me wanting to ride into battle on a dragon. Some have provided a lot of inspiration for certain scenes which wouldn’t have happened without it.

On the days where I’m feeling a little unmotivated to sit down in front of my laptop, I simply pop my headphones in and listen to the playlist. It’s amazing how much my mood can change by doing that and before I know it, I’m typing away. I don’t listen to it while I’m writing (I need to be able to hear the characters in my head, which doesn’t sound creepy at all) but I do when I’m stuck on something.

Rewarding Myself

When I finished the first and second draft of Beneath the Empty, I rewarded myself with my favorite meals, a bottle of wine and a new book. I’ll probably do something similar when I finish this draft, but in between, I give myself smaller rewards. When I reach the end of a chapter, I allow myself to indulge in my favorite treat or watch my favorite TV show. It helps keep me motivated, especially if I’m addicted to what I’m watching. Everyone loves to be rewarded, so don’t be afraid to do it for yourself when you’re writing.

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That’s all I have at the moment and so far, they have been working. I feel so excited every day when I finish work to get home and improve on this story. Before my current manuscript, I never edited a book, ever. I always got better ideas, but Beneath the Empty has my heart and I cannot wait until I can start querying it.

Switching It Up

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I’ve been thinking about my blog a lot lately and how I’ve been terrible at creating posts. I think the reason for this is that I’m in a funk with it and I have so much more to talk about than just reviewing books, as much as I love doing that! For this reason, I think my blog needs a little shake up to make things interesting again.

I have an amazing amount of followers so far and I am so grateful to you all. I will still be posting reviews and hosting blog tours when I am participating, but I also wanted to post about my life in general. Daydreaming Roux should be about more than just books, it should be about my world and everything that goes on in it. This will mean featuring a gallery where I can post my artwork and writing posts about my own writing journey. Because those things are a big part of my life too.

Hopefully you’ll all enjoy the change, which might come along with a little update to how the blog looks when I have the time. I started a new job about a month ago now after giving freelance a try. It turns out I prefer knowing how much money I’m going to get each month but luckily I have an amazing content writing job for a marketing company. Since then I have been less stressed and now that I’m in a routine again I think it’s a good idea to start blogging more regularly. To tell you the truth, I’ve missed it a lot, especially the community of the book blogging world.

I will try to post a few times a week but if you’d like to know more about what I have to say and what I’m up to, why not give me a follow on Twitter or Instagram? You can find the links along the sidebar of my blog and it would be great to connect with more people on there too! Again, I’m so sorry for disappearing while my life was a little all over the place, but I am determined to make a comeback and hopefully reach 500 followers soon!

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How I Manage to Write 1,000 Words a Day

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There are a lot of authors/writers, some aspiring and some established, who have to work part time or full time to have a regular income. We all know that publishing is never the easiest to navigate when it comes to making money. Sometimes people get very lucky and they are able to live off of just their writing, and some aren’t. There’s nothing wrong with that at all and more people probably do it than you realise.

Whenever I am scrolling through Twitter, I see a lot of people wondering how it’s possible to write every day and how they struggle to write even a hundred words. Whenever I’ve posted about my writing I’ve had people wondering how I manage to write 1,000 words a day, especially when I work full time. My job actually incorporates content writing for websites, as I am a Search Engine Marketing Associate, so I am lucky to love my job. Of course, what I really want to do is to be an author and live off of the books I write.

Until my dream comes true, I have to try and fit my creative writing in my everyday life. I’m going to start by saying that it isn’t easy and sometimes even I fail, although when I do I try to remember that I am only human and I cannot do everything (as much as I would like to). It all comes down to getting in to the habit of sitting down for at least an hour and churning out the thoughts in my head. On average I can write 1,000 words during my lunch break at work because it lasts an hour.

Why my lunch break? It’s the only time where I find myself able to commit to the story and my brain isn’t fried from a day of working. In the evenings I find myself too tired and that, for me, is the worst time to write. It’s different on the weekends because I am fully rested and most times I can write way over my 1,000 word limit (which always makes me happy).

At the end of the day, it is all about dedication. I have to be dedicated if I want to succeed and try to fit in my writing whenever I can. Funnily enough, I actually concentrate better when I’m at work because there’s too many distractions at home. You don’t have to set yourself 1,000 words. It could 700 or even 500, but once you get into the habit it will be so much easier to complete your novel.

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I hope you enjoyed my little post and maybe it will help you with your writing ventures. Let me know in the comments about how you manage to find the time to write during your busy lives.