Hey one and all, welcome to the sixth installment of From the Writing Desk, a blog series where I talk about writing and my own experiences with it.
First up, a little update on the project I’m working on. I’ve gone back to writing AGK after I did Camp NaNoWriMo last month. I think I’ve mostly figured out how the middle part of the story will play out, especially near the start of the final third, now I just have to get it out in a chapter by chapter synopsis. I’m also currently on track to hit 55,000 words by the end of this week. That’s roughly the halfway point in the story. If everything goes to plan, I should be able to complete the first draft by August.
So, back to the topic at hand. Writing consistently. Making a habit out of writing is the surest way for you to complete your first draft. Try out different word count goals and schedules. I started with writing a thousand words a day, but found that I was stretching myself too much, so I went with five thousand a week. The idea was to write a thousand words a day and give myself a two day break whenever I wanted it. Usually this falls on the weekends.
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
– Stephen King
Once you’ve found a schedule, stick to it. It’ll be hard at first, but in time, you’ll get used to it. Write when you don’t feel like it. And if you have some sort of activity that takes away your writing time, plan ahead and replace it. Either write earlier or write later, but either way, write. And when you’re writing your first draft, turn off your inner editor. Fix easy grammar mistakes like spelling errors but ignore things like word choices or replacing adverbs. Those can come later. If you changed something in your plot, make a note and continue writing as if you’ve already made the necessary changes. Fix it later. In short, write, write and write some more. Editing and revising comes later.
If you find yourself easily distracted by social media or just the Internet in general, consider getting a computer without an Internet connection, or just shut off the modem when you write. If it’s games or some offline stuff, go the old fashion route. Use pen and paper.
It is also important to stay motivated and stay fresh. Find some ways to replenish your creative well. It could be listening to music, podcasts, watching movies, reading other books, anything that allows you to rest your creative mind and allow you to draw some inspirations from it. But if you’re still having difficulty hitting the schedule you’ve made, don’t give up. Instead, have a look at your schedule and make some adjustment. You’ll find something that works for you eventually. Even writing one thousand words per week will get you a decent size novel in one and a half years.
Keep your head down, keep to your schedule, and eventually you’ll pound out your first draft. And another first draft and another first draft and… that’s the problem I’m facing now. I like writing new stories rather than going back to fix the ones I’ve already written. I’m planning to set aside next year to focus on revision. Hopefully it pans out.
In any case, I hope that you’ve benefited a little after reading this. Happy Writing!