As April draws on, it’s time to turn your thoughts to the exciting 60-Day Edit phase. Soon, you’ll be sharpening your pencil and diving back into your novel to evaluate your draft from the 90-Day Write cycle, and to figure out the next steps in your book’s journey.
In order to clear your mind for that effort, this is a great time to take care of administrative details elsewhere in your life. This will help to minimize distractions and enable you to feel ahead of the game as your novel calls for your full attention.
1. Check your calendar
What’s going on in May and June that you could plan for now? In the USA and Canada, both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day fall in these months, while the UK and Australia celebrate one each. You probably see birthdays, anniversaries and other events in your calendar too. Thinking ahead for parties and gifts can save considerable stress closer to the time. It’s not too early to think about a summer vacation, if you hope to take one. And have you nailed down summer camp arrangements for kids?
2. Take care of household tasks
Did you let anything slip around your home during the 90-Day Write? While I’m not necessarily advocating full-scale spring cleaning, do pause to make sure that essential maintenance is scheduled, winter gear is stored away, and that last October’s pumpkin is no longer on your front porch! Don’t overlook emergency supplies, and test your smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors. Tax deadlines fall in April for the USA, Canada, and the UK, to name a few countries. Make sure bills are paid, essential medications are on hand, and that insurance policies are up to date. You can’t focus on shaping an amazing novel if you don’t have peace of mind.
3. Prepare to edit!
Is your Work In Progress backed up and safely stored? If you plan to print your manuscript to review it, check your supplies of paper, toner, and colored pens: few things are more frustrating than running out of these just as you get going. This would also be an ideal time to tidy and organize your workspace. After all, you want to be able to focus on characters, not clutter.
Pausing to get organized now should pay huge dividends once the 60-Day Edit begins. You’ll know that the main surprises you’ll encounter will be in your plot and character arcs, not your everyday life.
About Pauline Wiles
Pauline Wiles is the author of three light-hearted novels and creator of the Serenity Project. She believes pragmatic self-care is the foundation of a long and happy writing career. Her own version of this includes plentiful tea, cake, and running. Get more tips for serene productivity at paulinewiles.com/serenity-project/.