Scrivener vs. The Inner Critic

And you thought you were rid of me for the whole month!
No such luck. Besides, I have something kinda cool to share.
I’ve been struggling with keeping track of multiple projects. It seems I like to jump around from project to project, a characteristic of the Muse I’ve come to love and accept. This does however lead to a very convoluted to-do list, especially because every time I change course I have to rearrange the list. Not only is it hard to measure progress spread across so many places, but it is also difficult to keep track of where I left off with each project. Worst of all, every time I take the top item off the list to replace it with something else my self-esteem takes a hit.
And my Inner Critic screams, “Failure!”
Just for fun, I opened a Scrivener document on my To-Do file and tried to list every single thing I want to work on in the next year or so: All the stories I want to write, the stories I want to revise, the works in progress, the chapters I want to post for critique, the books I want to read (and I like switch off between several at once; doesn’t everyone do that?) and even little projects like fixing up Ye Olde Blogge. Everything.Sigurd Decroos @ Stock.xchng
The list was twenty-one items long.
As I stared at it, I was struck by an idea.
How about treating each project as its own Scrivener document, turning it into an index card and keeping track of progress inside the document? And then how about color coding each one according to project?
The Muse loves colors!
CategoriesI decided blue would be good for The Tempest’s Serenade (my revised novel), yellow for The Dragon’s Milk Chronicles, red for my other first draft stories, purple for writing craft stuff, orange for reading.
It didn’t take long before I had a pretty cork board with everything I want to do spread out in neat color-coded rows. I’ve sorted them into the order I want to work on things, starting at the top left corner. First: Finish posting chapters of The Tempest’s Serenade at Critique Circle. After that: Finish the first draft of The Way of Wolves.
I can keep track of where I’m at on the document part of the card and I can add images or links there as well. Making a new project is easy too. When I decided that I really don’t want to work on something as epic as the third book of my trilogy for NaNoWriMo, and work on a lighthearted romantic comedy called Karma’s Dragon set in the real world instead, I just make a new card and slide it into the queue in the order I want to do it.
No failure here. Just a rearrangement of priorities.Scrivener Index Cards
How about you? How do you appease the Inner Critic? And do you read one book at a time, or switch off between several?

Colored hearts image courtesy of Sigurd Decroos @ Stock.xchng

IWSG: Heading to the Lake House

Welcome to this month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group where, thanks to the genius of Alex J. Cavanaugh, Insecure Writers Support Groupwriters all over the world-wide web gather to share their insecurities and triumphs. If you want to join us, click the linky and add your name to the list of some of the nicest writers on the web!
For this month’s post I have a question for my fellow writers. As it’s summertime all over the Northern Hemisphere, I’m watching people pack up their swimsuits and head to the lake house, where they will sit under shady oak trees sipping lemonade and ruminate on the folly of the daily grind.Image courtesy of Jo Ann Snover @ StockFresh
I’ve begun to wonder.
When everywhere the gainfully employed are kicking off their sneakers and running barefoot in the lawn, when do writers get a vacation? When will I feel entitled to set aside my storytelling wizard hat and turn into a normal human being for a spell?

Of course there are those who would mock me and say that sitting in front of a computer screen transcribing daydreams isn’t work at all. And, in that sense, they’re right. I do enjoy almost every single minute of my writing adventures. Even Image Courtesy of Marek Trawczynski @ StockFreshthinking about stopping makes me sad, and as Stephen King so aptly describes his compulsion to write in On Writing:

“… when I’m not working, I’m not working at all, although in those periods of full stop I usually feel at loose ends with myself and have trouble sleeping. For me, not writing is the real work.” (On Writing pages 148-149)

And yet, in contrast, he writes, about writing workshops, where entire days are devoted to writing one’s masterpiece:

“ … the larger the work looms in my day—the more it seems like an I hafta instead of just an I wanna—the more problematic it can become.” (On Writing page 235)

Image courtesy of Marek Trawczynski @StockFreshI think my issue lies somewhere in between these extremes: There is just so darn much I wanna do, that it’s starting to feel like I hafta.
I just crossed over 50k words on my latest WIP and that’s going gangbusters. If I could just focus on that I would be a happy camper. But I’m also more than halfway through posting my revised novel chapters at Critique Circle, and I’d really like to get through the whole book there. I’d love to devote more attention to all the courses at the Holly Lisle Boot Camps  I haven’t explored yet. And though I know I don’t post nearly enough here at A Scenic Route, I’ve even thought about declaring a blog hiatus.

I know. Blasphemy!

Image courtesy of ArenaCreative @ StockFreshSo, Insecure Writers, how do you decide when it’s time for a vacation? Is there a way to cut back and still be happy with one’s progress?

And would you guys really desert me if I missed a whole month of posting?

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Footprint images courtesy of Image Courtesy of Marek Trawczynski, lake house courtesy Jo Ann Snover, vacation in sand courtesy of ArenaCreative @ StockFresh.