February Writing Update

At the beginning of this year, I set myself monthly writing goals which, if I complete them all on time, will leave me with a manuscript that should be almost ready to start sending to agents, plus the first draft of its sequel.

My goal for February was to start my own edits, and start finding critique partners. I also wanted to work on characterisation more; this was part of my January goal which I didn’t get very far with.

So, how did I do?

Let’s start with the first part: starting my own edits. Since this isn’t very quantifiable, I can technically say that I completed this goal. I did start editing my novel using the notes I made from reading it through in January.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get as far as I wanted. At the start of the month, I decided that if I tackled the “high priority” edits in February, I could tackle the “low priority”/more superficial edits in March, and have a novel ready for critique partners and a print copy by the beginning of April. The thing is, though, that I hugely underestimated how long my “high priority” structural edits would take. Out of the six pages of these notes, I haven’t even made my way through one page of them.

On one hand, I do have excuses that mean I haven’t spent as much time writing as I could have done. I came home from Germany in February, I’ve had friends and family to see, I’ve had things to sort out. And I’ve actually done more editing than I planned on; I’ve added notes as I’ve gone, and rewritten entire scenes when my notes said to only edit one small part of them. But really, excuses simply don’t cut it. The time that I have had for writing, I know I could have utilised a lot better.

So, what does this mean?

Firstly, it means I’m going to need to really knuckle down and get stuff done in March. Secondly, it means that I need to reanalyse my aims a bit. Finishing the five and a half pages of structural edits PLUS doing all six pages of superficial edits in just one month simply isn’t realistic. Besides, what’s the point in making it sound nice if my critique partners are only going to tell me to change it? So I won’t be aiming to do the superficial edits at all before getting a print copy and sending it off to critique partners.

Which leads me nicely onto the second part of my goal: finding critique partners. While one of my writer friends has agreed to read through my manuscript and give me feedback, I can’t honestly say that I have done this, as I haven’t asked in any writing communities on online as I had planned to do. Reason being that, although I know that finding the right critique partner(s) for me is going to take time, so the earlier I start, the better, I’m worried that advertising too early will lead to someone wanting my novel when I’m not ready to give it to them yet. Yes, I know it’s a silly worry, and if that happened, I’m sure they would understand and be willing to wait a bit.

All in all, my progress could be worse, but I am definitely going to have to up my game in March if I want to keep up with the rest of my goals!

My official goal for March is to finish my own edits, based on my notes and my improved characterisation, though of course I will have to add finding critique partners to that as well.

Wish me luck!

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