Note: If you’re not interested in writing, you can skip this post, or read my list of simply beautiful things for a dose of inspiration.
I know a few of you are writers, or aspiring writers, so I wanted to share a little more about my daily fiction writing process.
Last year, I wrote a novel in a month. That manuscript is my number one focus right now.
I write fiction everyday. My goal is to have a good draft of The Channels (young adult fiction) written by January 12, 2012. Then, I’ll start a new book and try to sell my finished project.
To reach that goal, I have a smaller goal: write 5,300 solid words per week.
The writing life
Writing is something I love to do. I can honestly say I look forward to it every day.
After savoring a cup of coffee, I write for about 30 minutes. Then, I take a break to workout, shower or eat breakfast. This cycle continues until the kids get home from school (sometimes later as needed).
- Read more: How to Get Your Most Important Things Done
Defining solid words
I do my best work on deadline. That’s why I keep track of my word count in a simple excel spreadsheet so I know where I’m at for the week.
Here’s the routine I follow to come up with “solid words”:
- At the end of the day, I copy and paste the new scenes of my novel into book format. The text is single spaced and reads just like a book. (In Word, choose page setup, margins tab, and click “book fold” under multiple pages.) I’m a much more critical editor when reading my own work as a book.
- Before bed, I read my book and circle words or paragraphs that need work. I don’t always know how to improve them at the time, but I know that – as a reader – something doesn’t sound right.
- The next day, I rewrite those scenes and hopefully have time to write some new ones, too.
- Repeat with each scene until there are no more circled words or sentences. (This can take three or four nights.)
- Celebrate as many solid words as I can get!
Remember, I’m already on the second draft of my novel and past the crappy first draft stage … Barely.
How to reach huge writing goals
5,300 solid words per week is a hefty goal, even though I’m able to write full-time.
I wrote like crazy on Monday and Tuesday, but only had 200 solid words written by Wednesday morning. (Blame that on my revising method mentioned above.)
There was a bit of panic.
Here’s what I did to end my writing day with 3,287 new words:
- Turn off the phones.
- Don’t check Facebook or email until you reach your goal.
- Don’t clean the house or fritter around with laundry. You’ll get to it eventually.
- Improvise and delegate. Go out to eat or ask your spouse to make dinner instead.
- Write everywhere. After the kids got home, I lugged my laptop to my son’s doctor appointment so I could write instead of read magazines in the waiting room. (Headphones required.) Later, I wrote while he searched for a new book at the bookstore.
I don’t do this everyday, but when I fall behind, that’s how I get back on track.
It’s been a long day – I’m mentally exhausted – but I reached my writing goals. It wasn’t pretty, but right now, it feels amazing.
I hate writing, I love having written. ― Dorothy Parker
What is your writing process? Also, what are you working on right now?
- For more of my writing, you can read my book, The Hybrid Homemaker. Now available.
- If you liked this post, please help support this blog and share it. Thank you!
- I’m taking next week off from this blog to be with my family and still reach my fiction writing goal. May your holiday be full of peace and love. xoxo
- You can follow my fiction writing progress on this blog – check out the “novel in progress” meter in the sidebar.
Photo by jjpacres