Tag Archives: daily

Routine

My professor for fiction writing, years ago, told us that the key to writing daily was to get into a routine. Find a specific time of day you want to write and do it, every day.

Except every time I tried, I failed. I continue in some amalgam of a routine, writing usually at night, going into the late hours and hedging into my sleep, more often than not. But I can’t set a rigorous schedule. As you’ll see in the article I link, there are some who agree with me.

But then there are those who don’t. Who speak highly of the routine, of a set schedule of how and when to write and have much to say of the benefits of it.

Either way, I invite you to read the gorgeous piece of The Psychology of Writing and the Cognitive Science of the Perfect Daily Routine by Brainpickings.

-The Novice Wordsmith

Advertisements

Journal-ism

One of my favorite, writing-centric gifts I ever got was a journal. I’d gotten so many before, but this one was special, because it came with a prompt: “Write, on the first of every month, about everything that happened in the last one.”

Simple as it was, it was perfect for where I was with my writing. I wanted to get into the groove of daily writing, but hadn’t quite had the motivation for it. Having something monthly to do and look forward to not only helped me figure out what I was going to write, but how I was going to write it. I had a tool that would stoke my creativity in a way that was different from my typical fiction writing, but it helped no less.

Writing about yourself and how you feel might be some of the easiest writing you do. It comes from your heart and your head and requires no other effort than to figure out how you’re going to word it. Most of all, it’s a great place to start if you want to work on writing more!

Blogs are great things for this reason. They encourage you to share as well as to keep writing. It gives you an outlet, and a place to let go of whatever’s been cluttering your head, and in some cases, it helps you reach out to others when you need it.

I’ve always had a fondness for journals. There’s a kind of magic to them, open, blank, and ready for your words. It’s a literary canvas, waiting for the paint, eager for it. Use a pencil to write in and erase and keep writing until you’ve filled up every inch of every page. One of my happiest little achievements will always be filling up that journal that I was given. I ran out of space for November, even!

The second year I got a journal, I didn’t write in it as much. I’ve written December and January,  but the rest remains untouched. Part of me feels guilty about it, but the other part sees it as growth.

I’ve gone from sometimes struggling to write monthly to writing daily, at least 500+ words, and sometimes more, depending.

On the other hand, journaling can, in some ways, help your quality of life. When you can’t speak to someone, or when you’re afraid of what they’ll say, having that outlet at all is a great step forward. Get out the thoughts that you don’t like or can’t keep silent about. Personal, intimate things need to be said, too, and writing them out is sometimes the best way for that.

Keeping a journal, whether it’s physical or online, intimate or general, is a good place to start if you’re having trouble writing daily. Make a commitment to do it weekly, or monthly, or however you’re comfortable, and see where it takes you.

The beauty of keeping a personal journal is that it’s yours. There’s no one to worry about pleasing, it’s you and your thoughts alone in a book or a blog tailored to you. Your creation, your writing, your whatever. You can doodle in the margins, get some drawing practice with font designs, or use it as a scratch pad for when you get inspired on the run or anywhere.

I should have called this post ‘back to basics,’ thinking about it: the versatility and simplicity of a bound book of blank pages has been a go-to since the beginning for anyone with ideas. And on the other hand, the filled book, be it a novel or a finished notebook, has just as much magic in it, both for its potential, and for the effort put into it.

-The Novice Wordsmith

Preparation

The last two months before November are known as “crunch time” for me, and for Friend, for National Novel Writing Month, and trying to figure out just what we want to write. Dedicating 30 days and as far over 50,000 words as we can manage isn’t so tough when we can find an idea we love.

Unfortunately, this year’s decision is a lot harder than it was last year, which took me all of a day to figure out before I started a three-four month process on outlining and working out other little details that would shape the novel. So now, after having one NaNo success under my belt, I have other little ideas that are waiting for me to write them out, and I’m not sure which one I want to go with.

Friend doesn’t have too much preparation that he does in comparison. We flesh out ideas and brainstorm and figure some things out, but for the most part, everything remains in his head until November, and then it all gets let loose. I envy that, to a point, but I’m very much a planner in my own right.

I have to know what I’m going to write a little less than I did last year. The year before was my first  year committing, and I didn’t make it. After making it, I have an idea of what to do and expect of a successful month.

It reminds me of something he mentioned the other day. Someone he knows, knows someone who’s done NaNoWriMo for seven years, and what they loved most about it was that it’s practice, and it’s helping them get better, that they can see the progress they’re making.

That’s what I love about November, that at the core, it’s meant to help you, to throw you into thirty days of writing as much as possible and not let you come up for air until the first of December.

It equates to hard and heavy training: If you haven’t been writing all year round, having a full month of daily writing will shape your writing in ways you haven’t seen before. Just as well, if you don’t exercise much daily, and push yourself to do it for a full month, you will see physical results that haven’t happened to you before. 

The difference this time, for me, is that I’m writing daily, even just a little bit. As much as I can, a story, an excerpt, something. But I’m excited to see how this month will go.

I wanted to announce now, too, that I’ll be posting weekly motivation through October for it, in case it’s something you’re doing. I realize now that there are plenty of people who haven’t done it (I know a few authors who haven’t). So for that, I may as well just apologize for cluttering you’re reader if you’re not interested!

On the other hand, if you’re contemplating doing it for the first time this year, please give it a shot. 50,000 words sounds scary, but the real goal is to get you to write every day, and to commit, and to work on finishing something. It is to stoke your creativity. Don’t be intimidated, just go for it, that’s all it ever takes.

Do what you feel is best, anyway, whether for NaNo or just in general. For me, it’s mapping everything out so I know which way to go. For Friend, it’s jumping into it and letting the current take him through.

-The Novice Wordsmith