…When the World is Falling Down Around You
I created my writing schedule for the year more than a year ago. Since then projects have been added here and there and life has also edged-in in the most unforeseen ways. However, it is important for me as an author to stay on schedule. If I say I’m going to do something, I do it…if at all possible. I want my readers to know they can rely on me.
So, I had exactly a month and a week to write the next book due to my editor. That’s 37 days to create 65,000 words. Which means I needed to write at least 1,757 word per day. Not a big deal…until you add in one house, one husband, two kids, gymnastics and soccer for said kids, two dogs, 5 ducks, and 6 days of working out per week (to maintain my sanity) to the equation.
In the last month I’ve had 2 out of town guests, 3 doctor’s visits (for kids), 5 snow days (i.e. kids home from school), 6 combined sick days (kids home…not overlapping with any of the snow days), and have managed to stay on target with my daily word count. I’m patting myself on the back for that one.
Here are some things that help me stay motivated.
1. Don’t focus on your word count. Focus on your story.
If you enjoy your characters and the crazy situations you put them in, your word count will come.
2. Move your characters along.
If your characters get bogged down in a situations, you’re writing the same scene for multiple days. When I move them past an issue, I stay excited about what tomorrow’s writing will bring.
3. Look for the little win!
Yes! I completed a chapter. What’s that? One hundred pages!
4. Know where you’re going.
If you plot in any way, shape, or form, refer to your plot before you start for the day. You may get 2k words in a setting, but if those words don’t move you ahead in your story they could be for naut and end up on the editing room floor later.
5. When you’re feeling it, bank words.
Some days the words flow. Harness that natural energy and add extra words for the days when life trips you up.
6. Push through the uh.
When nothing you do (change of scenery, snack or stretching break, etc.) helps clear the fog write through it. It may be crap, but, as so many have said before… You can edit crap. You can’t edit a blank page. Then if all else fails, step away, and know you’ve banked words for days like this.
7. Keep your writing time sacred. A.K.A. It’s okay to say, “No.”
I write when my kids sleep or are at school. We could be down to the last Rice Crispy and if it’s a preschool/school day there is no way I’m going to the grocery store. If there are dishes in the sink, I’ll clean them while two kids use me as a jungle gym, but I will not (now matter how much my OCD compels me) clean those dishes during writing time. Know when you can write, or when you work the best, and keep that time for your work. No emails. No Facebook. No excuses.
8. Remember why you’re doing this.
I love creating worlds, characters, and the problems they fight to overcome. I want to write and I want people to enjoy my books. The End. Well, the beginning really.
So, why do you do this?