Back to Normality and Routine…Hooray!

If you noticed, I hadn’t posted anything last week. There’s a good reason for that–I’ve been playing around with my writing schedule, figuring out when was the best time to do work on which writing projects, now that we’ve settled into a normal routine again.

A normal routine. I never thought it would happen. After all the chaos over the past six months…actually, no, make that eight months…it feels strange to be in a normal routine again. Part of me is somewhat aghast that I need a routine to define my life.

Back before marriage and kids, I used to be more spontaneous–in fact, when I was with the RCA, I took a Gallup Strengths Finder test (similar to Meyer Briggs) and one of my strengths was Adaptability: the ability to change direction when needed. People with an Adaptability strength was very good at multi-tasking, and they were great at changing focus at a drop of a hat. I prided myself with that. I thought that being spontaneous was the best thing for me, the artsy person that I was (never mind that I wasn’t actually creating any art at the time–simply the thought that I was made me happy).

When Daniel was born, I had to build routine into our lives. Suddenly, I didn’t mind doing the same thing over and over each week–routines became familiar to us like a warm blanket, because we knew where we stood in life. It gave us structure, a framework I could build my life on, particularly my writing. A routine forced me to sit in a chair and produce something, not just say, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll write that down someday…” Without routine, I would have never finished The Weeping of the Willows.

So now that we’re in a normal routine again, I feel a little wary that it might be taken away. When my hubby got his job with the school, we thought that we were set for life, if only for a couple of years. When all the life changes took place last October, it shook us up good. Who’s to say that the same thing won’t happen now that we’re up in Madison?

I honestly don’t know. I guess that’s where the trust in God’s leading comes in. He brought us here. He had a reason. So as long as we’re here, I’m going to enjoy it.

So anyway, back to writing. Because our apartment is so tiny, sound travels very easily, which sucks when I want to concentrate on writing. Luckily, I don’t have to concentrate so much in reading through the first draft of Willow. Doing a read-through is easier, and harder, than I thought. Some books say that you only reread the first draft just to get a feel for the story; others say to scrutinize every line in a reread, because you need to get the second draft just right. What complicates things is that there are whole chapters that I want to strip out, and new scenes that I need to write.

Because of the whole moving thing, I did not print out the story, but rather, I’m doing the whole reading on Word 2007, using the Track Changes and Comments feature. It works quite well for me since I’m not constantly printing up paper. I just read the story and make notes to myself on what I would like to change, what needs to be researched, etc. The hard part is not making revisions right away–in some places, it’s very much needed, and I find myself doing some quick corrections. It’s okay, but I don’t want to get bogged down in it. This is not the time to rewrite the whole book. That will come later, when I’ll do the actual revising.

I don’t know how long it will take for me to reread the story, but since I’m not doing the massive 600,000 word count, I’m guessing that it won’t take me as long. Back in January, when we were working on the house, I managed to read through a chapter per week. Now that I have more time to dedicate to it, I would like to bump it up to two, perhaps even three chapters a week. Let’s see, I’m on chapter 9 now, and there are currently 51 chapters in the book, so if I read through 3 chapters a week, I can be done with the reading process by the middle of September. Oy, that’s a lot of work.

In the meantime, there’s also the short story I’m working on, “She’s All Light”. I’m so sick of working on this story, because it’s all I’ve been working on so far this year, other than Willow. I want to start working on new stuff, but SAL is coming to the point that I’m almost ready to send out. That requires much more of my concentration, so the best time for me to work on it is when I come back from work, after Daniel goes down for quiet time (and ever since he started preschool, when he comes home, he’s so exhausted he actually naps. Thank you, Preschool!) Working on Willow works well (hee-hee…alliteration) in the evening, when my hubby watches TV and I can afford to glance up every now and then to see what’s on the screen.

And as for blogging? Well, to my amazement, so far the best time seems to be in the early morning, right before I go to work. And the strangest thing is, I have been getting up early, at least early for me. Go figure.

It’s getting close to 7:30. Time to get ready for work. Looks like it’s going to be a normal, routine-laden day.

Ahhhh. Feels good.