Whether you’re a reader interested in the writing process, or someone exploring NaNoWriMo for the first time, or a seasoned writer looking to speed up your process, you’ll find something to love about Becky Clark’s “Eight Weeks to a Complete Novel.” This short blog series will get you started.
Even though I’m a “full-time writer”—a misnomer if ever I heard one—I only write three-ish hours per day and I take off Wednesdays and weekends. I can get several books written in a year over the course of twelve hours or so of concentrated effort every week.
You may have a demanding full-time job or a demanding family, or both, but I bet you can squeak out some hours every week for yourself. Lunchtime? Early mornings before work or before the kids get up? After they go to bed? When they nap? One full Saturday or Sunday? Can you find an hour each day to call your own? Or three half-hours? Or several 15-minute writing sprints?
If you’re pumping your fist in the air yelling, “Yes I can!” then yay you. But if you’re on the verge of melting into a quivering ball of angsty writer goo, please get hold of yourself because in the second half of EIGHT WEEKS TO A COMPLETE NOVEL, I think you’ll find some ideas, tips, and tricks that will help you write faster and organize yourself for success.
Because if I can do this, you can too. There’s absolutely nothing special about me, unless you count my almost perfect fried chicken or my sweet, sweet dance moves. I’m not one of those magical unicorns who can pound out ridiculously high word counts every day. I don’t care to be at my computer for long stretches. I watch TV and movies every day, I meet friends for lunch, I volunteer, exercise, and garden—in short, I have a real life. But I want to write books as part of my life, so I’ve created a system that, with a modicum of self-discipline, allows me to do it all.
You. Can. Too.
When you focus, you don’t need massive amounts of time. Quality over quantity.
Here, however, is where I caution you about the “100% mindset.”
Just because you miss a day or a week, you haven’t failed at any of this. Life gets in the way. Well-intentioned plans go astray. Unless you have an editor breathing down your neck, allow yourself permission to take a time-out if you need one. Call an audible. Huddle up and give yourself an encouraging, inspirational half-time speech à la Knute Rockne. (Sorry. I watch a lot of football.)
You obviously want writing to be a part of your life, but you can always take a short break from it. If you’re not having fun, something is wrong and you must fix it before moving forward.
Allow yourself that luxury. Find the fun again.
Remember, there are many paths up the mountain. I hope you find yours.