From A Break Between Writing Projects

Matt here. I come to you in the brief respite between writing projects to commune.

I like having this small gap between projects. It’s good to breathe for a day or two (no more!). I like it almost as much as I like knowing exactly what I’ll be working on next. Both are part of the flow, the magic, that keeps the words coming.

I made a breakneck schedule for all the book projects I’m juggling right now. That helps, too. The specifics get a little hazy toward August, but I mapped out all my plans through the end of the year, trying to make all my goals fit into what seems a meager twelve months.

So far I’m on track. I got Two Moons off to my editor on January 5th, and knocked out the second draft of a new Republic story (sorry, no name yet, but it’s in the same world and takes place around the same time as Stolen Choices). I start the first draft of Creative Writing with Scrivener (working title) on Monday, a short nonfiction book that started its life as a few blogs. February is reserved for edits to Two Moons, but I’ll probably plan the third Republic story on the side, plus all the normal blogging and blabbing on Twitter.

The schedule will shift, but that’s what schedules do by nature. I suck at guessing how long something will take me to write (though I’m getting better), so I like having the schedule. It shows me what’s possible, and if I’ve learned anything about myself as a writer this past year, it’s that I need to have a plan. Both in terms of what’s going to happen in the story I’m working on, and when and how much I’m going to sit down and write on any given day.

Tonight, I’m going out to a comedy improv show. Improv is a great reminder to any writer embarking on a new project. Improv says, trust emergence. Improv says, Look, we just made this shit up, and the audience loved it.

But damned if the actorx don’t have a plan going out onto that stage. Writers have a lot to learn from comedians. A good improv show is a masters class in dialogue and plot twists. I’ll try to take a nugget of wisdom from the show tonight and share it with you in the comments.

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