June is behind us, and so is week 5 of my writing accountability challenge. This blog is proving to be instrumental in helping me keep up the habit—it’s been a month and I’m still putting in the hours pretty much every day, despite being absolutely swamped in the past few weeks.

From Last Week

I’ll prioritize reading for one more week on Mon-Thu, and on Friday I’ll be doing plotting prep—going through all my files, separating the plot ideas from established facts, and checking out The Novel Factory’s plotting function.

I’ve (sort of) done all of these things, to a greater or lesser extent, plus I’ve started going through Publishing Mastermind again, trying to craft some elevator pitches for the series and Fateweaver 1.

How the Week Went

The reading has been very slow going but lots of new ideas are there, which might be why I couldn’t focus on anything but the background processes in my head trying to sort all those ideas into plot possibilities. I’ve also been in and out of Plottr, Novel Factory, and Scrivener, mostly gauging the situation I have left over from working on Halfblood’s Destiny and all the previous drafts of Fateweaver 1.

I felt like I was just spinning my wheels all week and accomplishing nothing—but that’s usually how I feel before it all settles down in my head and I can draw something coherent out of it.

How the Month Went

Realistically, I’ve met pretty much all of my monthly goals. I spent an average of 2.5h every day either reading, doing plotting prep, going through new ideas, crafting pitches, honing my craft, etc. That’s close to 11h per week on average spent on my author career, which was my goal for June. So even though it doesn’t feel like I accomplished a lot, I have actually done a lot of prep work, which is a change for me—usually I jump in and figure things out as I go. And that’s landed me into a bit of a mess, as this week’s tasks have revealed.

My Plotting Situation

It’s been roughly two years since I did any plotting other than an occasional phone note. Haflblood’s Destiny I worked out in Plottr, on what seems to me now as an overly complicated and detailed plot template. So that’s bad, but what’s worse is that before Plottr, I used Scrivener, which means that old plot notes are scattered throughout each book’s Scrivener project, as well as in the Scrivener series bible I’d made for Fateweaver. And that one is the biggest mess of all, because I’d reworked the magic system, chronology, character backgrounds and who knows what else, multiple times, without really marking what’s updated and what isn’t.

With my focus scattered to oblivion these days, just knowing that I have to open a ton of different programs and sort through a bunch of notes to get even a little bit of a clue on which information is most recent is overwhelming. Like, I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to face my mess. ? I thought I was good at plotting, but clearly I need to learn how to simplify and streamline the process so that I don’t get lost in my own worldbuilding and plots.

Novel Factory Trial

I thought Novel Factory might help me there, but when it comes to its plotting functionality, I wasn’t impressed. I tried it out earlier today, and it doesn’t seem like I can easily adjust it even to the simplified version of the plot template I normally use—Plottr blows it out of the water with customization.

The fault might lie with me, since I honestly had no patience to go through yet another program’s learning curve and set up another fledgling plot, only to decide that I won’t be using it. At this point I think I need to figure out how to work with what I already have, rather than keep on chasing that one perfect solution that probably doesn’t exist.

(Besides, I’m still side-eyeing their prices, and I’ve got Plottr renewed for another two years, so that’s a no-brainer.)

Plans for July

The number one priority for the entire month is sorting out this organizational disaster I have on my hands here ? I need to sit down and figure out exactly how I want my prepping-plotting-writing process to look in the future, and then reverse-engineer the steps I need to take to make it so. And then start doing those steps.

Now, what I would like to have accomplished by the end of the month is setting up that process, and also, I would like to finalize the series arc, and the plot for Fateweaver 1’s next draft. It’s Camp NaNo month, so that’ll be going into my word counts for the challenge.

Next Week’s Outlook and Goals

I got probably another couple of hellish weeks at work wrapping up projects, so I’ll dedicate next week to just getting my ducks in a row. I need a good plan with all the steps outlined so I can stop feeling like a headless chicken running around, which has been my life for the past week.

In that vein, I’m probably forgetting something for this update, so I better sign off before I drive myself crazy wondering what it is. ?