Intentionality: 3 Ways To Make Progress On Your Dream

How I Edited Book 2, Twice, In 5 Months (After Over 5 Years Of Editing)

I published the first book of my series The Guardian of Hope in early 2009. I then spent the next five years agonizing over the editing of Book 2. I got maybe a fourth of the way through.

Then I changed tactics. And from late April to the end of October, about five and a half months, I completed the remaining editing. And not just the first round of edits, but that includes going through Book 2 a second time. I got an entire round of second edits in that timeframe too. Book 2 is now waiting on feedback and a last round of edits before it gets send on to the publisher.

Now, for some people, this wouldn’t seem like a big deal. But you have to understand that I dislike editing. I love writing. Editing…not so much. I could do without it. Honestly, I’d rather let other people do all the editing, but I want my work to be good so I have to edit it myself.

Which explains why it had taken me five years to get through a fourth of Book 2. Part of it, granted, was life changes – I moved, got married and moved in with my husband, changed jobs a few times, and moved again. So granted, there was a lot going on.

Yet despite that, and despite my dislike of editing, I was dragging my feet. I felt like I could never find time to edit, let alone do much writing (although I did some on stories outside of The Guardian of Hope.)

So if finishing the first round of edits, and completing the second round of edits in five months doesn’t sound impressive, how about also writing 245,152 words in those five months, on top of the editing?

Yeah. I’m pretty stoked (to say the least). I’m so excited! I can’t get over it.

Some of those words belong to other stories, and some of them were a part of a couple of rewriting of scenes, which happens when I edit. But there was still a lot of editing on top of the writing, and I got it all done!

No, I didn’t quit my job. I didn’t hire a maid to clean the house and cook the meals, or anything like that. I didn’t magically create an extra hour in my day – I have the same 24 hours as everyone else. But I did make a change in my habits and in how I think about writing, and what a difference it has made!

The ultimate part of making this happen was: Intentionality. It’s a term I first heard by Dave Ramsey as a part of the intro to his video channel. And once I heard it, I couldn’t get it out of my head. One of the areas that I immediately knew I needed to be intentional about was “Writing.”

There were three areas that helped me achieve intentionality in regards to writing, but they also apply to every area:

  1. Set A Goal. I realized what I wanted to do, and instead of leaving it as a “dream,” I wrote it down and made it a goal. I told myself I wanted to have the editing to Book 2 done by the end of 2015. Yes, I know that’s another year out. That should tell you how much faster this all suddenly went than even I expected.
  2. Create A Schedule. While I had a good routine to start with, and I’d created a sketch of a schedule, once I got intentional about writing I redid my schedule and I made a note of what times I would write and edit. It’s amazing how much it helps to see your schedule on paper. If you want to do X, Y, and Z, you need to write it down and see how it would look on your schedule. You can – and should – do incredible things, but you cannot achieve it all instantaneously, and to achieve them, you need to schedule it.
  3. Track Your Progress. This was inspired by my husband. When he was accepted into an MA program, a big chunk of that schooling was reliant on him writing a novel for his thesis. To encourage himself to write sufficiently to complete the task, Nathan set a goal of 6,000 words a week. But to know if he accomplished this goal, he needed a way to track it, so he created an Excel spreadsheet just for that, which he called a Writing Tracker. I spiffed it up a bit (because I like pretty things), and I’ve got plans to update it for 2015, but just to show you what I’ve been using, I’ve attached a copy of the Writing Tracker here. Unlike Nathan, I’ve been tracking both word count and time, because when I’m editing I don’t have a very high word count but I’ll spend hours nonetheless. So I show progress both ways.

If and when I update the Writing Tracker for 2015, I’ll share an updated spreadsheet for you. It is manual entry except for the “Current Month Hours,” and of course the Totals. I put some numbers in to start.

One thing I will advise, that I didn’t do until August, is to keep a record of each month (just copy the main tab and rename the copy as the month you completed). This way you can see a breakdown of each month as it happens, and just in case anything happens, you at least have the history to recreate your main tab.

Need more help with goal-setting and being intentional about your life? There’s lots of great resources out there, and I would highly recommend Michael Hyatt’s Season 2, Episode 10 podcast as a starting point.

Hope that helps! Happy writing (or whatever you love doing)!

What area of your life are you going to apply Intentionality to, and what steps do you need to take to make it no longer a dream but a realized goal?

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Tamara Rivers

Tamara Rivers

I'm the author of "The Guardian of Hope," and hoping to publish many more books - I love to write!

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