This summer, my goal was to write every single day and by the end, my second novel was almost complete! With NaNoWriMo almost upon us, I’ve been thinking on ways to super hone what I’ve learned about writing discipline this summer and condense a summer’s worth of writing into one glorious month! In my last blog post, I wrote about prepping our novels for NaNoWriMo, so today, I’d like to talk about how to prepare ourselves to go the distance.
Test runs. While setting a writing goal of 1800 words a day doesn’t look so bad on paper, find out what to really expect by pretending it’s November 1st, picking a writing prompt and writing 1800 words during what you think is your best designated writing time.
In this test run, you should be able to determine not only what 1800 words in one sitting feels like and if the time you’ve selected works for your writing brain. If morning doesn’t turn out to be as grand as you thought it would be, try the evening after the kids are in bed. In the past, I’ve tried the mornings before work annnnnd that didn’t go so well as my creative brain wouldn’t turn on and I was too sleepy to function well at work, but I find that I’m a great night writing owl!
When you find your rhythm, make the commitment to stick with it. Tell your friends and family about your decision. It will help keep you accountable.
Even on the days when it feels like there is nothing left in the inspiration well, try going back to the previous day’s scene and add to it. Even if you won’t be using the extra length, keep typing until something hits you. Just write and stay in the rhythm of writing every day.
Write until the inspiration is spent and then, write two more sentences with a loose end for you to work on tomorrow. To avoid losing your rhythm, try to leave yourself a place to pick up the inspiration again. If you can’t find a good place to leave yourself an open end, keep writing until you hit something. (Bonus of this method: you get extra word count to give you a little more flexibility in case of a sick day!)
When you go to bed each night or to work each morning after your writing session, be thinking of how you want to use those sentences to launch your next session.
Prepare to set aside perfection. I HATE comma/grammatical errors, but if I’ve learned anything from this summer, it’s that one of the sure fire ways to kill the creative flow is to stop and correct every single sentence. Yes. It was very difficult to keep myself from stopping and going back to correct a sentence the instant a mistake was made, but in order to get the word count out, I had to keep the inspiration flowing by pressing onward.
If it really bothers you, once you reach the end of the day’s flow, go back and edit! When I went back through my draft, I found some appalling errors haha, but I did not interrupt my creative flow! Errors can be corrected, but creative flow is something you don’t want to lose.
Writing takes more than passion. It takes discipline. Some days, we just won’t want to write, but we have to make ourselves. It’s the only way that your dream of your novel will become a reality. Passion fuels and discipline drives.
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