Writing isn’t easy, at least not for me. I’m almost 20,000 words into my current project, Pieces of January. I have days when the writing is almost (but not quite) easy. Those days are infrequent. Some days it feels like a battle to find the right words and fold them into a compelling narrative. Those days are the norm for me.
Some days I win the battle simply by keeping my butt in the chair and working until I get it right. Other days I’m forced to fold up shop after a few hundred words. That’s okay. I can live with losing some of the battles because I’m winning the war. Here’s what works for me:
- I write every day. If I take a day off I begin to lose the thread of the scene I’m writing. You might think that taking a day off would leave me refreshed and invigorated, eager to return to the fray. It doesn’t work that way for me.
2. I do most of my writing in the morning. First of all, I’m a morning person, but more importantly, I like to get my work done so I don’t have it hanging over my head the rest of the day. It boosts my mood. I’m more creative when I’m in a good frame of mind.
3. I stop at a point that is easy to pick up the next day.
4. I stop before I’m mentally drained. If I empty the tank, I may have little creative energy left for the next day.
5. My daily word count is modest. I’m not the guy that stays up all night and knocks out 10,000 words. I’ve talked about this before. 1000 words is normal for me. 500 is the least acceptable number. I’ve never exceeded 2,500 in a day. If I did, I think there’s a chance I would burn out and abandon the project. At best, the writing would be sloppy. 1000 words a day adds up pretty fast when you’re writing 7 days a week.
6. When I finish a chapter, I prepare brief notes for the next chapter before quitting for the day. I always want to have a plan for the next morning’s work.
7. I try to stay in the moment and not look too far ahead. Writing a novel is a marathon. It requires patience and perseverance.
This is what works for me. It may or may not work for anyone else. Every author has to find their own path.