How to Step Up Your Production – Guest Post by Traci Kenworth…

For a long time, I worked on one story at a time. I realized that wasn’t getting me anywhere with all the rewrites and going over and over the material. So, I added another story. At first, I see-sawed between the two making little progress. For years again, I worked on the same stories, made the same mistakes. This past Jan., I decided some things needed to change. I wanted to put out quality work and be able to have more to show for my production.

I read an interview in which Stephen King said that he worked on more than one story at a time that’s how he always had projects in work and projects ready to go. I decided to try this.

What I did:

I knew I wanted to work on short stories as well as novels. So, I added a short story to my day. Short stories are great to give you momentum and plus when you finish one, you feel great at having accomplished something. Books, of course, take longer for that pay-off. If you work on short stories alongside your novel, it’ll give you more drive/energy to work your novel. After a time, I added a second novel project to the first as I’m editing with a freelance editor and the second project is the second draft of the book, I wrote last summer.

After I finished my surgeries in June, I decided to again look at my production schedules. I added a second short story to the mix, guest blogs, and started the character builder project for my 3rdnovel project that I wrote several years ago but hadn’t gotten around to editing yet. I’m going back to the beginning and building it from the ground up.

Recently, I also added poetry into the mix. A poem contest with Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday challenges and poems of a theme. I’ve done five horror poems and right now I have two fantasy-themed poems done working toward 5-10 as those are the batches, you’re allowed to send them in to a magazine or anthology.

Rotating days.

I have made a schedule up to rotate the work, so it doesn’t get overwhelming. On Sun. & Sat., I write and schedule two blogs for my Loleta Abi site and two blogs for my Where the Genres Collide site. I also pin the previous works blog posts. I work on other hobbies. I switch between reading print & reading Kindle each day. I listen to podcasts, mostly craft ones. And on Sun., I make up the frames for the week’s blogging links.

M, W. & F, I work on the short stories & poem. Work on the character builder for the third novel project. I research agents. I switch between print books and Netgalley books as well as other books I’ve been sent. I edit book project 1 & 2. I work on links on M & W. F, I go through old blog posts I missed.

T & T, I work on guest blogs, the character builder for project novel 3, edit books 1 & 2, read the Kindle and on Thurs., I schedule the links for Fri. & Sat.

Doing smaller chunks.

This is the secret for me. I write between 2 sentences to 3 paragraphs or more if I’m in the mood on the short stories to keep me going. Some short stories I get more done on if motivated. I write one complete poem. Add it to my volume. I move on to the character builder and do about 3 features. Three seems to be the magic number for me. I read two chaps per book that I’m reading. Most of the time, there’s 3-4 of them in each form. Editing is also done in threes. Three paragraphs each book project. Keeping things in smaller chunks doesn’t overwhelm me and keeps me plucking away at the keyboard. Accomplishing a short story or poem energizes me and helps me to stay motivated on the longer projects.

Wrapping it All Up.

I’m about to start a third short story for my Aug. prompt feedback from Perpetual Publishing Machine’s Max Booth III. As a Patreon of $5, he will provide you with comments under 2000 words. This helps me to see where I err, what still needs done, and what I’ve done right. There’s another Patreon feedback when you belong to the this is horror podcast at $10. You get to join Discord and there submit your short story for feedback.

Working with a freelance editor has helped me see bigger issues in my novel projects and how to go about fixing them. I used to think that the service wouldn’t be of value as you’re paying someone to read your work, but I’ve since discovered how very valuable it can be. They’re new eyes on your writing where you’ve seen everything over and over. Perhaps your critique partners have lost objective as well. This gives you a chance to get those pesky little problems before your readers see them. It may even bring your work up to professional industry standards. At least, that’s the hope.

I feel working with my editor is going to elevate me to a new class of writing. I’m learning to edit with a new eye since I’ve been in contact with her. Things that used to slide by, jump out at me now. This can happen for you as well. I know it may not be easy or affordable to hire an editor, but there are good editors out there that will work with you within your budget. That’s what happened for me. I never would have spoken with my editor if a wonderful friend and cp hadn’t given me a push. Now, I’m trying to get my first fifty pages revised and sent back to said editor to see if it works better, if there’s anything further to change, and if we can go on with the fifty after that. Yes, I broke it down into fifty. It works more to my pace.

Traci Kenworth

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