Second, I found a great new accompaniment to writing. Pandora Radio has been around a while and I've always liked it, but they finally added classical to their list of available music. If you haven't checked it out, you'll want to. It's one of those genome projects where you choose a song or an artist that you like and you can create radio stations where they'll select songs that they think you'll also like. Fantastic.
I'm in the middle of reading Then We Came to the End, by Joshua Ferris and one of the characters in this story is an aspiring novelist. He's got a piece of paper with the words, "The Blank Page Fears Me" taped onto the wall of his office. Pretty funny. I like it.
One of the toughest things I’ve had to do in my writing is to prioritize my time. After my last post, where I confessed my current state of mind and my focus on putting the analysis to the side so I could finish a first draft, things have really turned around for me.
I've never made myself write every day. If I had a lot of day job work, some heavy reading to do, if I felt too tired and decided I’d rather read blogs and write posts, I’d let myself.
I do have some experience with setting unattainable goals, so I decided that shifting gears and committing to a daily writing practice was not going to end well if I gave myself an unrealistic word count.
A lot of people aim for 1,000 words a day, but I decided to set my goal at 500. Most days that means I can exceed my goal. Timothy Hallinan pointed out at his blog that by writing 500 words a day, you can have 25,000 words or roughly 25% of a fair sized novel in less than two months.
I’m pretty lax about how I track my progress. I look at the word count when I start and I know roughly what number I need to meet or exceed and I’m happy. There are a million different ways people track their progress, edits and changes. I just re-save my document with the date that I worked on it every time I do anything and that seems to be working fine.
Working every day does have the benefit of keeping the story right at the forefront of my mind. I always know what my characters were doing when I left them, so I’m always thinking about what they’ll do next and what other horrible things might befall them. It does seem easier to open up a document daily, rather than to let it sit and then have to get back into it several days later.
Since I am still in a writing work shop, I've also found that the writing exercises I get in class have sometimes yielded some pretty OK stuff that I can use in my work in progress. I've got a great book, filled with writing exercises that I've decided to use the first time I sit down to write and I'm having a hard time getting started.
I’m not the most disciplined writer in the world by a long shot and I’ve only been working this way for a very short time. I will say that less than a week ago I was at 16K+ words and today I’m at 21K+.
There’s a very good possibility that some, most, or all of what I’m doing will be cut out later. It’s impossible to say. What I can say is that the story is moving forward and the characters are continuing to develop and for now, that’s exactly what I need.
Have you tried something new in your creative process recently?