Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

Being strict

with 2 comments

Last Thursday I tried to be strict with myself and chopped the day into half-hour and hourly chunks. The idea was that, if I stuck to my timings, I’d get a lot done. The first half hour was email checking and this was going well until I checked up on the blogs I follow. As I started to get carried away in other people’s lives, my timings began to slip. This meant something else had to be shortened, so bang went my piano practice. However, this was a helpful exercise in that it showed how long some things take compared to others. Checking email inboxes is quick; responding to emails is time consuming; copying notes from an old diary takes an age.

The afternoon was wholly dedicated to editing. By working through chapters 1 and 2 simultaneously I’ve come to the conclusion that both are too long. When I started writing, the characters were telling me about their lives. Now I’m trying to tell their story, the text needs to be tighter, punchier. I need to cut out paragraphs of back-story and reference in a sentence or two, maybe even in a throw-away sentence. By midway through the afternoon I’d given up on chapter 1 – my brain couldn’t cope with all the chopping and changing that’s needed. Instead I focused on chapter 2. It’s now leaner, sharper and a whole lot better (I hope). All that’s required is for me to read through for the inevitable typos (they multiply as I edit) and then return to the beginning to get the opening sorted.

Tomorrow should be writing Thursday again. Instead I’m off to London to hand in the portfolio of work from my recent teaching course. I’ll meet up with a copy of colleagues for lunch, get my cv looked over by a friend who teaches employability skills, return my books to the college library, and spend every spare moment trying to make sense of chapter 1.

Written by Sarah Ann

October 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I’m always taken off guard by how long certain tasks actually take when I anticipate spending so much less time on them. Writing is one task that I never know how to schedule for. Some days it’s quick and painless and other days I stare at a blank screen. I’d be interested to see how my day breaks down into hour and half-hour increments. Great idea!

    Stephanie (Bennis) Shirley

    October 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    • Good luck with it. It was useful – I think I was just trying to fit too much in as usual.

      Sarah Ann

      October 18, 2012 at 8:10 pm

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