Third trimester. Second baby. First novel.

The countdown is on — I’m having another baby girl sometime in the next couple weeks (yay!). And just in case I don’t have enough to do while preparing for another little one and working full-time and chasing my two-year-old and feeling guilty for never posting here, I’ve set June 30 as the due date for finishing a draft of my novel. I’ll spend a year or more on revisions, but I want to at least capture the full story before I enter the semi-delirium of round-the-clock feedings.

To help me reach my goal, a writer-friend has been cheering me on from afar. In March she and I began setting weekly writing goals for ourselves and reporting our progress via email every Sunday night. Knowing I’m (sort of) accountable to someone else been incredibly motivating.

That said, I’m behind, of course. I’ve had to scale back my goals several times. Some weeks I couldn’t even find the time to email an update to my friend, much less write anything real. So I changed my process, and I dare say the new one is way better.

Now, instead of writing actual sentences, I flesh out skeletons. First, I outline a section. Then I write a summary paragraph for each chapter. Then I write some of the dialogue for each chapter. Then I go back and fill in the rest. Finally, I revise. (Again and again and again.)

The process has unfolded organically, but it works so well I decided to map it out so I can use it from now on. I highly recommend trying it for yourself!

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