For the second year in a row, I have successfully completed National Novel Writing Month. It took me an extra day this year. 26 days instead of 25. I blame it on having to put new brakes on the car. Today, my brain is mush. My hands are throbbing. But I can’t stop. I have momentum, and that is important.
What did I learn?
- I have to put this book on hold and write another one. This was always supposed to be part of a series. However, I can’t start the series with this book. Too much wont make sense without at least one before it. Or perhaps a series of short stories to set the stage.
- Writer’s Block is a cop out. At least for me. The truth is: if I force myself to sit down and crank out 200 words, I will find my mojo for the day.
- Writing is hard. It sounds easy. You just sit down at the computer and make up a story. Anybody can do that, right? Not even fucking close. While I enjoyed writing, it was definitely a daunting task.
- Most importantly, I’ve settled on a solid workflow for myself.
Disclaimer: There is no “one size fits all” workflow. What works for me, might not work for you.
Step 1: No days off. Even if you only write a few hundred words, write EVERY day. No excuses. To quote an acquaintance of mine on Twitter: Write no matter what.
Step 2: Keep your writing time, and your writing space, “sacred”. Minimize distractions. Learn to ignore your phone, Twitter, Facebook, etc. They don’t exist while you’re at the keys.
Step 3: TUNES!!!! Find a couple of good albums or playlists that you can just let play without fucking with. Having to pause what your doing to skip a song you don’t like breaks your momentum. I find I work better with instrumental or ambient music. Stuff without lyrics.
Step 4: 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off. I’ve tried just sitting down and writing with wild abandon. Turns out like shit. But if I write like crazy for 15 minutes, then take 15 minutes to unplug and think through the next step… My output improves drastically
So where do we go from here?
That’s a good question. I’m going to keep writing. I’ve been trying to tell this story for a long time, and I’m finally on track. Can’t give up now.
There is another writing challenge. It’s called 85k90. It’s like NaNoWriMo on steroids. 85k in 90 days, so the word count isn’t as intense. But then you spend 60 days editing, 60 days prepping, 60 days, and then finish with a ready to publish/published book. As of right now, that is my goal. I’m going to spend the month of December getting ready, then be back at the grind. Hopefully by this time next year, I’ll have something published.