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Thank you Bob Mahoney, Penny Lewis, John Adle, John Harris, Amber Dennis, Lim Lipscomb, Auburn University, and Shimizu Corporation for your reviews of the manuscripts at various stages. The variety of feedback from this team has been priceless.
#1. Get up early and write for hours before you do anything else except basics...fix a cup of coffee, sit at your desk, and get after it.
Did I do this? Yes. Every day - no email, no phone, no interruptions for 3 months is all it took to write the original draft by 3/3/2014.
#2. Make your first edit with the same regimen.
Did I do this? Yes. Every day. And the first edit was completed in 3 months by 6/3/2014.
#3. Make your second edit with the same regimen.
Did I do this? No, I made a few exceptions. The edit was thus rushed in spurts to finish by 9/3/2014.
Not to belabor the rest, by making these 'exceptions' repeatedly through edits, the next thing I knew it was December 2020.
It is paramount - for me anyway - to use uninterrupted prime time to write, edit, and publish a novel if I am to have any hope of producing excellent quality within a year, novel-after-novel were that to be my goal (ya see, the compromising must be kept at bay).
#4. Get all permissions necessary after a draft or two. You want to make any major necessary changes ASAP.
Did I do this? Yes. I let all those whom I needed permission - several - read the novel. I was lucky. They all said yes.
#5. Make sure that everything makes sense.
Did I do this? Not all of it. And if there was a silver lining in setting the novel aside for a while, this was it. I was glad I hadn't yet published.
#6. #1 rules. #2 was just #1, phase 2. From the moment I started with the words 'Chapter 1', #1 was estimated - correctly in hindsight - to be the path to publishing Down to Earth in 12 to 24 months max (albeit permissions and outside reviews can't be rushed, they didn't take that long). So back to #1 I go.