Creativity,  Fiction,  Reading,  The Writing Life,  Writing a Novel

Fall into Routine

Walking helps the energy and creativity flow.
Planning on more walks this month!

There is always so much to do in this writing life in addition to actually writing your book. That’s the tricky part. It’s not that these “other” things are not enjoyable. But let’s face it, they all take time that you’d really rather spend hunched over your manuscript, troubleshooting the next plot hole. The beginning of the month seems like the perfect time to look ahead to the next thirty days and come up with a plan.

Realistically, this plan needs to include personal goals that are outside of the writing goals as well, because everything has to fit into the same twenty-four hours each day. That’s the key to success. If you have read the biographies of successful, multi-million selling authors, you’ve probably read about authors who barely stop to eat during the writing phase of their novel. Understanding spouses bring trays of food, not even making eye contact to interfere with the flow of genius when they open the study door to deliver it. Writers that don’t take a single day off, until the manuscript is done, accepting that annoying friends and relatives is the price they have to pay. The reality for most of us, though, is that we don’t have those options and/or don’t want to make those harsh choices. We value family time. Our partner also has a busy schedule. We want to have friends. People are counting on us.

List of Writing Activities to Include:

  • scenes/ideas/research for new project
  • rewrite/revise teen manuscript (I haven’t got it back yet from agent, but I think this will happen before the month is up)
  • attend author/writing event(s)
  • mentor emerging writer
  • read

Personal Activities:

  • walking more
  • making delicious food
  • family time
  • friend connections

The Plan

DAILY WRITING: So far, I have not been overly successful with my daily writing goals. I’ll spare you all the excuses. But, I’m not giving up yet. Once more, my goal is to write something for my new project each day. I’m allowing myself to develop character backstories, write scenes, or even write ideas for scenes at this point. Have you read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear? The idea is to get out my lined yellow notepad, get my head in the story and write something. Two sentences even. At this point, I’m just trying to develop the habit of actually adding to my new project EVERY day. Quantity is not the goal at the moment. Daily writing is. That means even when I’m working on revisions and rewrites, because revising and rewriting are not in the same category as the creative process of writing. It sounds so simple. It should work. Right?

Once a week I meet with my mentor student, which is a lot of fun and keeps me motivated in my own writing. At the moment we’re busy making post-it notes of scenes that need to be written leading up to the ending. It’s our sticky note road map. My own work-in-progress is a long way from the sticky note road map. I’m still in the wandering in the desert part of the process.

Once a month seems like a reasonable expectation for attending author events. I can easily talk myself into staying home, and curling up with my book, even though I always have the best time at these functions, so I’m checking them out ahead of time and pushing my butt out the door! I don’t have my October event selected yet, so I’ll keep you posted on that!

DAILY READING: It is impossible to write well without reading A LOT. Constantly. And yet, as much as I love reading, it is easy to push this activity into the when I have time, category. Reading is crucial. None of us create in a vacuum.

My current read is this brilliant historical fiction by Kristin Harmel. My new work is not historical fiction, but there may be some historical elements, and I do love a good historical fiction.

Next time, I’ll take a look at fitting personal time into the routine. Until then…


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