I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Good thing, as they’d all be dashed by now. Who needs to create opportunities for failure?
But I do like the clean slate of a new year. And mine’s still pretty clean. I like all those empty squares on my iCal. I would like all those empty pages in my 2012 diary if I could remember to buy one. But this week, I have been trying to fill them up. This year, I’m lucky enough to be doing some travelling. I have a couple of weeks in Berlin coming up, and I am filling a notebook with places I need to visit or revisit and putting lots of notes in my work-in-progress to remind myself to write a sequence once I have seen them/heard them/smelled them. I know I am lucky, for you can do nearly anything with Google maps – and paper maps, for that matter, as my character is in 1920s – 1930s Berlin. I am lucky I get to visit, so that I can come up with my own descriptions and not worry I am regurgitating Hans Fallada. First on my list are museums that have been moved, due to bombing. But my character will have needed to go to them before the war – before the bombing. I’ll talk more about these museums, once I find them!
I’m also putting in writing deadlines, committing to when I’d like to be done with the second draft of this second book, as well as the edited draft for my first book. Again, I am lucky to have all those empty squares to fill. And then I’m writing into squares when I will take a writing break, because I know I’ll need transition time to move back into the second book once everybody’s happy with the first one. I’m lucky that Susan Elderkin had room for me on the last workshop she will be running in her inspirational Dorset home, and luckier still to have good friends to write with during, and after, so that I get back into the swing after editing.
They always say that there are two types of writers – planners and pants-ers. I’m definitely a planner, and Scrivener lets me create folders for these chunks of time that I’m writing in, so that it’s easy to move around in them, when what happens in 1925 affects 1941, etc. I plan a framework – I know what the arc is – but I have no idea how I’m to get from one event to another, let alone one year to the next. In that respect, I’m a pants-er – I don’t do index cards for events or plot points – I’d rather wait and see what emerges from the writing. And perhaps that is how this year will be structured: a rough plan on an iCal grid, a year stretching out before me, and a rough idea of where I’m going by the end of it – but what will emerge is still a mystery. If so, that makes me very lucky, indeed.