A writer writes.
Set a word count goal
You can’t wait for inspiration.
I started writing about nine years ago, as I was coming out of a time of deep depression. All my dreams had come crashing down, and I was struggling to cope with a notion I would never be who I had hoped. Bits of stories have always skittered through my head, but that late winter and early spring, I had three full novels dropped into my brain.
As a teacher I don’t always have a lot of downtime during the school year. Papers to grade, grades to record, and lesson plans to prepare; there is always some thing. But 2008 saw me at my computer any free moment and by the summer I have three badly written novels completed.
After that, I spent a lot of time at conferences, in a critique, group, taking classes and studying the craft of writing. It was almost a year before I wrote anything new. Now I have thirteen completed works. I have published a novella, two novels, and Bible curriculum, as well as having stories published in anthologies. Three more books have been through my critique group and are ready for a final polish and visit to the editor. One is in critique process. One is in the end of first draft, and another is just taking shape.
But do I write every day?
I tend to write in concentrated bursts. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Writers from around the globe try to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I’ve taken the challenge four times and completed it. I don’t get a lot else done in November, but I usually have a book or the good beginnings of one come December 1st.
There are other times, that a story will start niggling at me. Like a crazed woodpecker on my brain it hammers images and plot in a relentless cadence until I sit at my computer and transform it into intelligible squiggles on a screen. Writing for weeks after school, on weekends, or on school breaks, and another story to deposited in the production line.
Each one starts its life as a hastily written rough draft. It will sit largely untouched for several months so I can look at it again with fresh eyes. Next, it will receive two-three rewrites before it goes to my fabulous critique group. They hone it a few chapters at a time. Then it sits again before one last deep review. This last steps are a professional editor and the incorporating those corrections. I contact my cover designer and start the formatting to release it out into the world.
This works for me. Until such a time as I can write fulltime, I don’t write everyday. I do dream, imagine, plot, read, and plan. But sitting at the computer comes in bursts of writing that continues to propel me to my goal of writing as my only job.
As a writer, find what works for you. Don’t wait for inspiration, but find a way to be involved in some aspect of writing every day. Read. Study craft. Edit. Critique. Share. Image. Dream. And of course take time to put words to word-processing program. Whether that means righting a few words every day, or writing in concentrated spurts—write.
The love of storytelling, words, and sharing a little of yourself makes you a writer even when you don’t meet a word count goal every day.