I'm extremely focused on my writing goals. As I stated in my first post, I'm doing the Indie Author thing because I want to make money. I'm tired of living on peanuts, and I share the American dream of providing for my family doing something that I love. I have a business plan, and part of that plan includes publishing something every three months, to stay on top of some sort of algorithm the epublishers have working. I don't even know what an algorithm is, but I'm trying to work with it. So, yesterday, I tore apart a calendar that we got from the Chinese buffet here in town, and wrote my writing goals on it.
On the calendar, I have noted publishing dates, and based on those dates, when I need to get my manuscript to my editor, Catherine. I have blocked out weeks for revision, weeks for promotion, and weeks for beta on each WIP. I felt a supreme feeling of accomplishment, just putting all of this on a visual format for me to look at every time I walk down the hallway to my bedroom.
It's actually not that hard for me, because I don't have a job to report in to every morning, so as soon as I drop the kids off at school, I can get busy and stay busy until it's time to pick them up. That gives me six hours of almost uninterrupted writing time, five days a week. I'm lucky in that regard. I know a lot of indie authors have full time jobs they report to, and don't get a chance to actually write until after all the kids are in bed. If that were me, I'd still be journaling.
At any given time, I have at least three works in progress. I always start with an outline. I'll outline a story, then work on a rough draft for an outline I've already got, then work on revisions for a rough draft I've already got, then go back and work on something else that I've already got. I focus on one WIP for anywhere from a week to a month, before moving on to a different one. Example...
I revised my rough draft for Falling for Heaven, and sent it out to beta readers. While it was out of my hands, I wrote the rough draft for Hot Mess. I already had an outline for it, so I followed the outline, only varying slightly from my original story. Hot Mess involved research on my part, so it took a little longer than most. I worked on that rough draft for almost a month. Once I had the rough draft, I put it aside and worked on another rough draft, Heaven's sequel, since my betas hadn't finished with Heaven yet. The next rough draft didn't involve as much research, so it only took a couple of weeks to finish. Then, I put it aside.
Going back to Heaven, I put in some of the suggested revisions from my beta readers (about a week) and sent it off to my editor. Then I worked on revisions for Hot Mess, since it had been almost a month since I'd looked at it last.
Now, I've finished round one of revisions for Hot Mess (they took a lot longer than revisions for Heaven, because I had skipped a bunch of scenes when writing the rough draft), and outlined my Christmas novella. I'm taking a few days off to recharge the brain, then round two of Hot Mess will happen. Once it's sent off to the beta readers, I will scratch out a rough draft of the Christmas novella, and start working on revisions to the sequel to Heaven.
It took awhile for me to realize this would work for me. And because it works for me, doesn't mean it would work for others, but it's the system that I've found. And I like systems. Everywhere I go, I've got my laptop or a notebook with me (or three) and I'm writing random notes about whatever WIP is inside my head at that moment. It could be the one I'm outlining, revising, or rough drafting. My notebooks are completely scattered and random. I also use the "sticky note" app on my iPhone for a lot of notes.
It's a constant rotating cycle of working on one MS or another. I would go nuts if I actually worked on one MS for three months straight. My brain is too scattered for that. And I'm trying to get ahead of the game for this summer, when the kids are home. If I stay on schedule, I'll have published six stories this year. And that ain't too shabby...