Thursday, August 26, 2010

Getting Serious for September

For any of us with kids, summer probably wasn't very productive, writing wise. Hopefully those trips to the beach, Disney Land, Wonderland, the Grand Canyon or Gramma's provided some sort of inspiration for a new story. Even if you don't have kids, chances are you let your word count goals slip more than a few times because the weather was great and you couldn't stand the thought of being inside all day. With only a week until school starts up (for my kids...some of yours might be in school all ready) it's time to do some planning to get yourself back in gear for writing again. Here are a few ideas to help get the creative juices flowing.

1. Clean your writing space. Nothing makes it harder to write than trying to see the monitor over piles of paper, or not being able to move the mouse because of the stack of notebooks piled beside it. A tidy space reduces stress, which is a good thing when you're trying to write. I won't get into the Feng Shui advice.

2. Review your notes. After a long break, it's hard to remember the little points that had you so excited about a certain story. You remember the fight scene that took you days of agonizing to write, or the secondary character that keeps wanting more than his share of page time. It's easy to say screw it and move onto a brand new project. Reviewing your notes will remind you of all the brilliant ideas you had and hopefully, will inspire you not to toss it away.

3. Make a plan. Pick a daily word count goal, or a date to finish the first draft on. If your plan to write a 25K story, and your goal is 5K a day, it feels really cool to say "I could have this done in 5 days!" Give yourself a bit of a buffer though...chances are you won't manage 5K a day one day, or the story will go beyond 25K. Nothing is certain in writing, so don't set yourself up for disappointment.

4. Stay connected. You don't have to be on facebook all day or chatting with your writing friends, but the odd little break to discuss how you're doing, or a problem that just popped up.

5. If you have a dedicated following of readers, let them know what you are doing. Nothing sparks a fire under your butt better than fans begging you to finish so they can read your latest work. If you don't have dedicated fans yet, you can do the same thing with a good writing group who will offer encouragement. Even someone saying "YAY!" or "Good job!" helps you keep going.

6. Plan to participate in NANOWRIMO or another group mass writing event. Make notes on the story you want to write ahead of time, and get excited about participating. Count down the days, mark it in red on your calendar, write it in big letters on your white board. Whether it's a huge world wide event like NANO or a something similar organized on Twitter or within your group of writing friends, take advantage of it. It's always nice to have people to share the successes and failures with.

If any of you have ideas for getting back into the groove after a writing break, let me know. I can certainly use all the help I can get...though with that being said, I'm heading out for a day of canoeing today, not writing. Technically it's research for a book I have in mind. *cough*

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posted by Jennie Andrus at 1:49 pm


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