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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Writers Write

This 2 word phrase (writers write) has been a biggie for me -- I tend to be unfocused with my writing, especially when the family needs lots of support as THEIR projects become due. I've heard 5,884,219 times that I should write down my goals, and while it helps immensely to list my priorities and do writing charts, I still need to refocus every day to get things done. I think part of the problem is that my important writing projects are so big that there's no sense of closure at the end of the day.

I read a great book over the holiday, Accidental Genius by Mark Levy, that advocates free writing to solve any and all goal-related problems. Free writing is basically the process of writing down your thoughts, thinking aloud on paper rather than letting your ephemeral cogitations slip through your mind and out your ears. There are a few helpful rules that go with this process, such as LOWER YOUR STANDARDS on your writing quality.

Especially after successfully completing the NANO challenge (National Novel Writing Month, for 50,000 words in 30 days) this past November 2010, I've been practicing just writing... writing... writing... I found that doing 2000 words a day, while not trivial, wasn't nearly as difficult as what I'd been afraid it would be.

OK, so here's my somewhat scary thought for myself for the new year: Writers write! I'm a writer. Therefore I write. And while I have been writing and producing quite a bit already, I want to be more focused and deliberate in my output instead of flitting between half-finished ideas. So, for 2011, I'm going to attempt at least 1000 new words of writing per day, five days per week. If I can do this, this ends up being about 260,000 words by December 31st. My writing can be about anything, from finishing a manuscript, to simply talking to myself about the garden. I want to get into the habit of producing words, A LOT of words, and not worrying so much that every blessed one isn't the absolutely best choice.

So you other writers out there, what do you think?


Philangelus said...

I'd strongly suggest you amend that so that every so often you give yourself a writing pause. That means no new words on that particular project for a week or so. I think our subconscious mind needs that kind of break every so often in order to make the pathways straight for that particular story. It's a way of gathering strength before the difficult sequences.

Amy Deardon said...

Philangelus, I greatly respect your thoughts on this! For NaNo I scheduled 2000 words six days per week, and that rest day was invaluable. I'm not keeping stringently to this schedule, but just, am trying to put words down esp. if I find myself reflecting about something. We'll see. I'm making progress on a new novel. How about you?

Philangelus said...

Right now I'm in-betweening. My agent has the draft of my novel, which is still fairly early in the edits process. I'm editing as inspiration comes to me, but I'm really supposed to be waiting for her to tell me how to make the thing pop before I tinker it to death. LOL!

So to kill time, I'm submitting short fiction and poetry to any market that looks reasonable.

I did Nanowrimo as 1700 words a day with no respite, and at the end of the month (both times I did it) I had 50K+ words, but I crashed and couldn't write again until February. We all have natural rhythms we need to respect. You seem to have found yours. :-)

Amy Deardon said...

Is this your Viola ms? I hope you have great news soon! Good luck with submissions, and hope you're not snowed under with the weather.

Anne Lang Bundy said...

Blogging is my disciplined writing. But I feel I've no control over how fast a novel is written. However undisciplined it may be, I have to write and rewrite my characters through the same scenes until I know them. And then we embark together on an adventure that has an ending place I already know, though I discover with them how we shall get there.

As best I can tell, every writer needs their own parameters. I can picture you thriving with the goal you've set, Amy. And like Philangelus, I hope you give yourself room to flex from it when need be.