Okay, so I'm sitting here in my P.J.s at lunch time writing this post. Yep, that's pretty much normal for me. I've developed a nice little routine that allows me not to step into my real life until after lunch everyday. Pretty great, huh?
I've read many writing books and have found that most of them say similar things. Many address style, plot, theme, dialogue, and include the oh-so-dreaded grammar lesson. But few have inspired me to change my entire schedule and look at my writing differently. I recently read Stephen King's On Writing. (I know, I know. It's been around for like - ever.) In the book, he addresses how he schedules his life. He writes in the morning (at least 2,000 words). I've found in the past that mornings work well for me with writing, and so I began to model my schedule similar to his. I write first thing (after my coffee, of course), spend the afternoons exercising and doing household chores, and spend the nights with my husband (usually working on our house or lounging around watching DIY or a Duck Dynasty re-run.) This schedule has worked for me so well that I was able to finally finish my novel last Friday. It felt amazing! I kept a short journal about my progress last week:
Monday June 17th, 2013: Wrote 2,200 words. Introduced two of my favorite characters so far, and my MC's gift is expounding. End count: 59,243.
Tuesday June 18th, 2013: Wrote 2,574 words. Wrote a lot of action scenes today, sprinkled with some despair. Took the King's advice about not being ashamed of my writing today. Just let it flow. End count: 61,441.
Wednesday June 19th, 2013: Wrote 2,574 words. Some new, unexpected twists just occurred in the story. Love when that happens! I found that my word length may be longer than expected as a result. It was difficult to write this session at the beginning, but it eventually got going. End count: 64, 015 words.
Thursday June 20th, 2013: Wrote 4,467 words. I wrote until my fingers started to cramp up. I was on a roll and hated to stop but hunger and carpal tunnel crippled me for the day. I'm on the last chapter, which is both amazing and sad. Like all good things, right? End count: 68,482.
Friday June 21st, 2013: Wrote 1,359 words. First draft is complete It's bittersweet, but luckily, I'm not saying goodbye to the characters. It's more like "see you in a few weeks." Now I'm looking forward to writing Book 2 of the series. End count: 69,841.
Grand Total: 12,798 words in five days.
I'm also taking King's advice on waiting six weeks to edit the manuscript and work on an unrelated project until then. I have several edits that I've thought of so far, and it's killing me to not work on it. But I'm hoping that this piece of advice will produce as much success as the other.
I had a very difficult time completing this novel. I'm not sure why, but I've received lots of encouragement and great ideas that have helped me push through my creative barriers. In the end, I'm more proud of this work than any the others I've written. Who knows if it'll ever be published or see the light of day. To be frank, it doesn't even matter. I write because I have to. It's a driving force that I've never been able to shake.
Some writer friends, you know who you are, :) provided great suggestions to help me through some troublesome spots. Thanks, guys!
More than anything, my "Ideal Reader" a.k.a. my husband, pushed me to finish. His faith in this novel far supersedes anything that I could imagine. His belief that this is "the one" makes me hopeful.
In the meantime, I have started a novella based on a blurb I wrote two years ago. It was recently published here.
I hope that your writing endeavors are going well. I'd love to hear about what your working on, if you've hit a road block or are breezing through, and if you've found that following a schedule helps keep you on track.
Read you soon. Write on.
Photo by Favim.