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  • Writer's pictureVendela Ahlström

February reflection


What a freaking month! I felt so incredibly productive during February. I fell back in love with my WIP and can truly see it take shape. It’s a bit of a muddled mess right now, and it doesn’t read the way I want it to, but under all those messy and unsophisticated words I can see my story and I’m so excited to keep working on it.

What went well

  1. I read draft 3. All of it. There were parts that I cannot believe I thought were good enough to send to my critique partners. It’s embarrassingly bad. Then there were parts where I can tell I’d found my flow. They didn’t read awfully and I actually quite enjoyed reading it. After nine months of not writing, I really did need to just step back and read the whole thing. It was eye opening.

  2. I made a revision plan, revised that revision plan and then improved my revision plan. Basically, I laid out the whole story according to the Save the Cat Beats, beat for beat, chapter by chapter. Then I printed that out and annotated it. I jotted down everything that would need adding, changing or cutting. Then I typed all of those notes up as a to do list in bullet point form so I can check them off as I go. I also added the scene and sequel steps to make sure each chapter is actually bringing value to the character and the plot. Now I basically have a very rich and detailed document of what needs doing in draft 4.

  3. I set up my draft 4 document in scrivener. This might not seem like a big deal, but it was. It let me move on from draft 3 and leave that behind. I could cut the scenes that needed to go, add blank pages for the new scenes, add all the chapter synopses for the cork board view and add the to do list of each scene in the notes section on the left so I always know what I’m doing when I go back into the document. I changed icons and status of the chapters so everything is organised and ready to go. Yes, it takes a few hours, but it saves me a lot of headache during the coming revisions.

  4. I started writing the new scenes. Yes, I actually started working on draft 4. There are a total of six scenes that need writing from scratch and I got three of them written, and I’m actually quite pleased with the outcome. I didn’t think I’d get this far.

What did not go as planned

  1. I didn’t get all the new scenes written, but that was optimistic. This was a goal I set during the last week of February, so technically, getting any scenes written was a win! I thought, perhaps I’d get all the new scenes written that week, but I got called into work so that didn’t happen. I don’t mind it. I’m happy with the turn out.

  2. When reading draft 3 there were quite a few things I thought were fine that I now realise need a lot of work. I’m not upset about it though. I’m happy I found these little sections now and not later and I think fixing them will only make the book better.

  3. I cut a relationship. Saga originally had a romantic relationship in the beginning of the book which end to leave room for a new relationship, but I cut it. I just realised it wasn’t working in the long run and that I have better things in store for them if they just remain friends. It’s going to be a badass friendship. Just because this particular relationship didn’t turn out as I thought it doesn’t mean it was a bad thing. I’m quite happy with this turn out, it was just unexpected.

How am I feeling about next month?

I’m super excited about getting all the new scenes written. I have three more to write, one which I’m really struggling with. I was working on it before I started writing this blog post and decided to take a break because I got stuck. Once they’re all written I have a complete story to start fixing.

I’m a little nervous about time management. I had accountability partners last month, two hours every morning, but I’m returning to work this month. Next week I’m actually working full days all week. After that it will only be 1,5 days a week, but my shifts clash with my writing sprints with the Stockholm Writer’s Network which is a shame. I hope I can adapt to this new schedule and somehow squeeze writing into my schedule.

I feel excited to have built a good routine. Despite that being messed with, now that work kicks in, I feel like I’ve learnt to prioritise my writing and respect it enough to let it take place in my life again. I want to keep this relationship with my writing.

What am I going to do differently next month?

I’m going to have to be more flexible with my writing due to work clashing with my accountability partners on zoom. I’m going to have to learn to write for 30 mins on my break at work, or write on the train. It’s going to be tricky, but I’m going to have to learn to adapt and see my writing as short writing sprints. It’s all about time management and adapting.

Sum up

I feel like I can see my writing take shape. This phase of revisions, is where the writing is happening and I can’t wait to make my story better with every word I write, cut or change! Having returned to my writing after nine months feels amazing and I love being back.

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