No, not the sound of a siren but the sound of a pen scratching on paper. I’m participating in the annual writing challenge to write 50k words in one month. The challenge suggests that it’s quite possible to write a novel in a month, though that’s not strictly true. [Read more…] about NaNo…NaNo…NaNo
I don’t know about you, but my writing can be affected by the seasons, or any other distraction for that matter. Perhaps a large part of it is that my other ‘work’ is as flexible as my writing routine. That can be seen as a dream for some and I know I’m very fortunate but like everything, it can also have its downsides. A couple of weeks ago it looked as if Autumn had really arrived, talk of bonfires and dark evenings. However, for the past few days, the days have been warm, almost Indian summer-like with cold nights that have required us to light the wood burner.
Here are four things that I find useful in keeping my writing on track, whatever the season (or distraction, usually animal related) that may be. And given that NaNoWriMo starts in a couple of weeks, I think these are going to come in handy!
I’ve always set goals, every year for as long as I can remember. And for as long as I can remember, I’ve never reached the end of that year having achieved them. I’m too ambitious, too full of hope that this year will be the one and therefore I set myself up to fail. Following the example set by another writer with the same dilemma, I’ve been setting monthly goals now for the better part of this year. And they work, for whatever reason I’m getting more done than I’ve ever done. Perhaps it’s more time relevant, more in the moment and I can actually see the progress rather than wishing on a star. It’s also helped by the second hack I’ve employed this year.
Focused Project Days
Again, for all my life I’ve considered myself to excel at multi-tasking. That was certainly true for my younger self as a single mum, having a full-time job and completing a degree all at the same time. Nowadays I’m not so good at balancing all those spinning plates. And what’s more, it didn’t work. Not for my writing anyway. Now I split the weekdays into daily focused projects where I concentrate on one thing at a time. It could be a short story I’m polishing for a competition or editing on one WiP or researching a new one. Occasionally I find myself dipping into something I shouldn’t be but a sharp rap on the knuckles does the trick.
Sweating the Small Stuff
Having said I focus on a daily project, I do spend half an hour at the beginning of the day just getting those small niggly things of my list. The things that may seem insignificant, like replying to an email or some housekeeping admin, watering the pots, tickling the kitties… whatever. If I tick them off my list that’s more headroom for writing. And that can be a good thing.
Daily Free Writing Sessions
For the past two months during the hot weather, I’ve set myself a target of daily, Monday to Friday, free writing sessions. The WA Monday Muse often forms one of these but I’ve also used them as preparations or the start of scenes in my current WiP and most definitely for the project the day. I’ve missed one or two days because of one thing or another. But it certainly has helped in me getting to The End.
What works for you?
Aarrghh… can’t believe we’re into October already! Though Autumn is my absolutely favourite season and NaNoWriMo is approaching so excited all round! How did I fair in September, I wonder…
😋 3rd Edit of Wolf Moon – yay! And gone to for Beta Reading
😉 Rainbow Warriors review – I’ve done a lot on this and… the story has already changed, but for the better I believe
😥 Partake in a couple of writers challenges – nope, I couldn’t keep up with this. I need to accept my planner affliction and well… get them planned in advance
😁 Daily Writing Prompts Monday to Friday – 18 out of 20 and I did some extra scribbles now and again. This is becoming a habit… think three months and it’s hard wired.
😎 Update my journal ‘First Draft in 30 days’ to market for NaNoWrimo – and it’s a yes… need more work on the marketing side.
So for October – as I’ve mentioned, NaNoWriMo starts in November so a lot of this month will be spent preparing for that…
The Big Stuff
✔ Sketch out two more Wolf Moon sequels – for development as NaNo project #1
✔ Revisit snowflake for Rainbow Chronicles – NaNo project #2
✔ Schedule responses to #FantasyWiPOctober – did I mention I’ve passed 500 followers on Instagram! So chuffed and will be working hard to make new connections… you can follow me here
And it would be nice:
- to pick up my keyboard practice… haven’t done any since April
- to resume my Italian listening skills practice
- to get out on the bikes and make it to a cafe for coffee!
What are you planning to get done this month?
Reader Alert… this is a marketing post about a new journal I’ve just published. So if you’re not interested please feel free to walk on by 😉
It’s said everyone has a story in them. But not everyone can translate that story onto the page. First Draft in One Month guided journal is ideal for anyone struggling to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), for new writers and as well as those who have a bit of history.
The first draft is just getting the story down. It’s the beginning, not the end, and can easily be done within a month with a little preparation. Whether you’re participating in a write a novel in a month challenge, or thinking about your goals in the near future. Whether you are a panster, a planner or somewhere in between, this journal is designed to help you do that.
Filled with plenty of space, lined and plain, to scribble, doodle, sketch and write, First Draft in One Month also includes:
Preparing your story writing month
- Brainstorming Ideas
- Defining key characters
- Sketching out a plot
- Thinking about scenes and story lines
Advice and suggestions for managing your life during your writing month
- A Meal Planner to save time and ensure energy
- Creating play lists to stir your imagination
- Garnering friends and family support
- A calendar for clearing your desk and your mind
Resources to manage your writing month
- A motivational word tracker
- 31 writing prompts to spur you on if you get stuck
- Suggestions for clearing your head for writing sessions
- Suggestions for what happens after ‘The End’
So how did I do last month? August is always a tricky one with visitors and the heat. I didn’t have the first excuse this year for the first time in many…😌 apart from the one month a year neighbours.
😊Complete Wolf Moon – this target was my priority and I just hit it as the sun went down on the 31st August. Feeling rather chuffed!
😉Continue with the 15 minute prompts – five days a week which totalled 22 in the month and I managed 19… not a bad return and they did help with #1 target
😊Social Media posts planning for October – writing quotes and prompts are scheduled and I’ve now reached over 400 followers on Instagram… not sure if that’s a good thing or not!
So, being realistic with my goals for last month meant I was able to get them all done, which is a great feeling… here are this months:
The Big Stuff
✔ 3rd Edit of Wolf Moon for line editing via table for me and to Kindle for Simon to read *eeek*
✔ Rainbow Warriors review – start a bullet journal in preparation for NaNoWrimo
✔ Partake in a couple of writers challenges (post everyday in response to a task) probably #Writer Warriors and #FantasyWiPSeptember
✔ Daily Writing Prompts Monday – Friday – I’d really like to keep this up. It’s good for my soul
✔ Update my journal ‘First Draft in 30 days’ to market for NaNoWrimo
and in between
- Research editor for final draft Wolf Moon
- Social Media Posts for November
- Submit Italian Tax Returns!
Let me know what you plan to get up to!
Opening lines are important. Some stick in the mind longer than others and some will mean that short moment in which a reader decides to read on (that all important ‘hook’) … or not. Here are a few of mine.
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” Daphne du Maurier: Rebecca
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must want for a wife.” Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Leo Tolstoy: Anna Karenina
“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.” Sylvia Plath: The Bell Jar
“It was the day my grandmother exploded.” Iain Banks: The Crow Road
“124 was spiteful.” Toni Morrison: Beloved
“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were very normal, thank you very much.” J.K.Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
What are yours and why?