Understand your Rhythm.

Some of us are werewolves, some of us are vampires, some of us are pixies and some of us are zombies…

What I mean by this is that we’re not the cast for the next teen book sensation, no – we all are active at different times and it effects how we write.

Some of us can only writing during full moon, others only at night. Some like to get up early in the morning for it and others can write through the whole day because they never sleep. It’s what makes us unique and efficient.

I think it’s very important to understand when you like to write the most. Some of us are so conditioned to write during a specific time that sitting down to be creative at any other time will automatically result in procrastination. Some of us are a little bit luckier, able to write on the run where ever and whenever there’s time to yank out a notebook. It’s pretty much an each to his/her own concept and it’s interesting to note that nobody writes at quite the same pace, in exactly the same fashion.

I used to love writing in the evenings. I needed the quiet of the dark to wrap itself around me in order for my creativity to flow. Sleep has never been one of my strong points and I preferred sitting at my desk (then still writing everything out by hand) much more than I preferred lying in bed, staring at the ceiling. I could jot down a word or two during class or when I had a spare moment, but really – my time was best used between 10pm and 4am at night.
In recent years, I’m surprised to note that my window period has shifted. Although I still love writing at night, (especially in the summer when it’s cooler than the scorching hot days) I have to be honest and say that I am more efficient in the mornings. The problem, or rather changing factor (because there’s nothing wrong with writing in the mornings) came when I had to start working very hard physically at my various jobs. I used to come home exhausted and then, writing felt too much like work. I found it easier to concentrate after I’ve slept as much as I could and look at my characters and worlds from a fresh perspective. What’s more, I realized that I’m a little bit more efficient when I’m working against the clock, when I know that I only have an hour or two to spare (sometimes only half an hour) and I have to make the most of it.

How does this apply to you?

With NaNoWriMo around the corner, thousands (millions perhaps this year?) of people will be sitting down to do some crunch writing, to type out as many words as they can for November. As one of them, I know the worth in finding time to write – trying to squeeze it into a very busy day where it has to compete with work and my private life. It’s therefor logical that I use the time that I have to its optimum. And, I know when I’m dealing with a ‘lost cause’ time, where I might as well get up and do something constructive as oppose to stare at the computer for ages, typing out three words.

I’m not someone who’s very satisfied with a session that produces one sentence.

So, find your rhythm and understand it. It will help you not only through November, but in your future writing career as well.

Advertisements

Some Analyzing…

Having spend a lot of time analyzing a good friend of mine’s blog (The Writeaholic’s Blog – drop by if you haven’t already) I have come to realize that sometimes, it’s important to add a little bit of structure to your blog and work. I’ve been very fortunate to date, because I’ve had quite a lot of time to write before work. I was still fresh and ready from my evening’s sleep to be clear thinking and motivated to put some words to paper which was a luxury I didn’t think about till now.

At the moment, I spend most of my working day either in front of my computer (working on a dastardly Marketing Plan for which I have almost no information) or on the road in traffic. I’m beginning to realize that these two elements aren’t very good inspiration for creative thinking.

But – with NaNoWriMo only 44 days away, I feel quite strongly that it’s time to start working out a regime and get a little bit more organized in my writing.

I’m trying to determine this week how much time I have to write. I don’t really get round to writing over weekends (heck, there’s a world outside to explore and real people to spend time with) so my time is limited to my tea time and lunch time in the office and the time that I have before and after work. This is a slight problem, because I’m too confused in the morning to tie my own shoelaces and too tired of my computer in the evening to bother with it (and, I’m watching Fringe at the moment. Major procrastination station.).

Through analyzing all of this, I’ve come to one big conclusion (and a few little ones…).

  1. I am going to have to learn self discipline. I’ve always been very fortunately with my writing. It’s been a natural process and I’ve been able to do it without putting in a lot of effort (like searching for time to write and figuring out my plots). Things have changed a bit, as my writing became more complicated (clichés just won’t work anymore) and longer. My average story length at this stage is over 85K words. More often than not, I have no idea where I’m going at the start of a fic and it’s beginning to show.
  2. I am going to have to make a list of my current Work In Progress’s and my future Work In Progress’s. It helps to know where you are and where you want to be. I’ve reached a stage in my life where I realize that I don’t want to just work forever and it would be nice to bet a novel published. Yes, Writing is patient, but the market and people aren’t. There are so many would be authors out there and it would be nice not to be one of them but one of those on the other side who have made it.
  3. I am going to have to work on my NaNoWriMo. I don’t think I can handle another year like last year, where I flew through random plots and scenarios just to get my word count up to date. Heck. I have to make a good effort this year. NaNoWriMo is an opportunity to get a story that you’ve always been meaning to write off of the floor.
  4. I am going to have to work extra hard at my job. No use trying to be an author when you’re starving. I also really, really don’t want to go back to waitressing. My boss said the other day that he can see that I’m ambitions. Ambition’s got nothing to do with it. I Am Desperate. I have seen the other side and I do not like it.
  5. I am going to have to work on my blog. It’s such an important and good tool to use. It gives people a contact platform with me. It gives me the opportunity to get more people to notice me. Heck, it gives me a space to rant and rave and that’s always good. But mostly, it gives me a place to put my life into perspective a little bit and that goes a long way in my life.

 

The thing that’s important I feel is to be prepared. Writing (as with everything else in life) is a discipline. And, it’s a way of reaching out to people. One of the best reviews that I’ve ever received was where a reader came to me and said that she had learned something from my story and my work. That I have given her answers in her own life.

That was one of the biggest compliments I’ve ever received and it made me realize that yes, yes – writing is worth working for.

And Then There’s November…

With this renewed urge to get my blog up to speed (how many times have I written this) I thought it wise to start my posts on NaNoWriMo 2010. For those of you who don’t know what it is, NaNoWriMo – or National Novel Writing Month an international event in which thousands of crazy people (like yours truly) attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. You need to average exactly 1667 words a day to reach 50,000 words on the 30rd of November. In an ideal world, you should rather try to aim for 2000 words, as that gives you a little bit of breathing space for those not so productive days (or crisis days in which crazy out-of-your-hands stuff will happen).

 

And, non productive days there will be.

 

Writing is patient, but it is also unpredictable. Sometimes you can write thousands of words in a day (my record is 8000 words) and sometimes, none will come your way. With a project like NaNo, which takes a lot of creative effort (especially if you are not used to writing so much for so many consecutive days) it is only natural that you will run out of steam here towards the end. I started 5 days late last year, and for the first week or two constantly felt as if I was chasing a goal that felt unreachable (because every day, the words that you need become more and more…)

But, it worked out in the end because I believe that I was persistent.

 

The thing is also that NaNoWriMo is not about quality work per say, it’s more a shot for quantity and bulk. You can always edit later, but once you have your framework for your novel down, you are one step closer to achieving your goal. Whether it is just to complete it or to publish it eventually.

 

And, what I had liked about NaNo was the encouragement that people gave each other in the forums and behind the scenes. Write-Ins were a wonderful opportunity to meet people within your region who are as dedicated to writing as you are. It’s nice to see that there are other people out there who like to spend time in their heads almost as much as they do in the real world (or more so in my case… ;)). For a solitary profession, it’s good to do it in a group.

 

So, if you are thinking about doing NaNo, I’d like to use this post to encourage you to try. To sign up for this once a year (but once in a lifetime I can assure you) experience. If it’s anything like last year, it’s going to be a ball…