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

My Nameless New Friend

Have you ever been minding your own business, dragging the garbage to the curb, loading the dishwasher, folding the laundry, when, all of a sudden, the character you’ve been waiting to meet taps you on the shoulder?

BidI had such a moment. After auditioning all the existing characters for the lead role in the last book of my trilogy, I decided that none of them quite measured up. Their character arcs have closed. They’d said all they had to say and I was beginning to understand that I needed a new main character for the final story.

But that character had not made his entrance yet.

Today, as I was driving to the store, I caught a glimpse of a candidate for that spot in my mind’s eye. He was out hunting with his father, Rigel. He’s awfully young, not even twenty, but strong, like his dad. One word kept circling around him:

Fearless.

“Are you reckless?” I ask him as I ease into the slow lane to accommodate my distracted state of mind.

“Maybe.” His lips twitch and tease, and dare me to ask more.

“… Are you angry?”

“How would you feel if your mom could read your mind whenever she wanted to?”

Ouch. 

“Good point,” I reply, then add, “You’re kind of a hotshot, aren’t you?”

He looks at me with mischievous eyes. “Kinda.”Image courtesy of Aleksandra P. @ stock.xchng

“That could get you into trouble.”

“So?”

“I like you. Wanna be in my book?”

“Hell, yeah. When can we start?”

Soon, my nameless new friend, I think to myself. Only a few more holidays to go …

Happy New Year to all my blogging buddies! Have you met any new characters this year?

Images courtesy of  Marija Jure and Aleksandra P. @ stock.xchng