Author Walter Mosley’s book “This Year You Write Your Novel” is chock full of great tips for doing just that.
Some writers create rituals for their writing: lighting a candle, working in a certain place, listening to a favorite playlist, writing with a special pen. Mosley says his only ritual is that he writes every morning.
“The only thing that matters is that you write, write, write. It doesn’t have to be good writing. As a matter of fact, almost all first drafts are pretty bad. What matters is that you get down the words on the page or the screen—or into the tape recorder, if you work like that.”
The next morning, he reads over what he wrote the day before—making minor edits but mostly to get back in the flow of his story. Some days will be rough and unbearable and others will feel sublime as if the words are flowing from a spring of inspiration. Mosley says to ignore these feelings, either way. Happy or sad, the story has to come out.
“Stick to your schedule. Try to write a certain amount every day—let’s say somewhere between 600 and 1,200 words. Do not labor over what’s been written. Go over yesterday’s work cursorily to reorient yourself, then move on.”
In this manner, he says, a first draft can be done in three months and what you will have in front of you is the “heart of the book.” From this heart, you will rewrite and polish and edit until you have your finished story.
But the most important part is getting that first draft down. To see what else Mosley has to say about writing your novel in a year, check out his book. He packs more tips and wisdom into one hundred pages, than some tomes I’ve read.
A friend once told me that the best way to stop a bad habit was to replace it with a good one. At the time, she was trying to eat healthier and lose a few pounds. She said she found that trying to eliminate certain foods from her diet just made her want to eat more of them. She struggled with losing weight for years.
One day, she decided that instead of restricting her diet, she would add to it–healthy snacks and foods, including a plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables. A few of her goals: drink a green smoothie in the morning, eat vegetables at every meal, eat at least one salad a day, and snack on apples between meals. Read more
Are you on a quest to write every day? No matter what your goal, writing or otherwise, periodic check-ins can help ensure you stay on track and maintain enthusiasm for your projects.
Blogger Amanda Martin committed to write daily in 2013. For her daily challenge, Martin is writing posts that cover how her writing ideas develop and how she approaches research. The second part of each post is a new section of her work in progress, a novel. In this post, you’ll find more background about her project.
In Martin’s January 11 post, she shares the side effects of her daily practice.
It’s never too late to start a daily writing routine. Try these tips. (Tweet them)
1. Establish a regular writing time. Morning, noon, or night, you have to figure out what works for your life. I like mornings because I can get some work done before anything else interrupts my schedule. Plus, I have the sentences buzzing in my brain the rest of the day. Nights can be perfect for others because the house is finally quiet. And there’s something to be said for “sleeping on your story.” When I write before bed, I often have an epiphany the moment I lay my head down. Bonus. Read more
Congratulations to everyone who completed NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month– where writers around the world commit to writing a 50,000-word novel during the month of November)! This was the first year I completed NaNoWriMo. I started it last year, but gave up after falling behind in my first week.
The best part of the entire process was learning more about who I am as a writer.
Before NaNoWriMo, I suffered constant interruptions (both business and personal) that left me with many days, often leading into weeks, where no writing got done. With NaNoWriMo on my calendar for the month of November, I cleared the decks and made announcements among my family and friends of my intentions. I pictured clear skies and smooth sailing for my journey. Nobody would interrupt me and nothing would get in my way. Read more