Last week on Tips-y Tuesday we looked at how it can take a while to find “The One” when you’re trying to publish, but you’re not alone in that struggle, and getting there eventually is worth it.
This week I’d like to talk about one of the few things I’m actually decent at when it comes to writing: consistency.
I may not be so great when it comes to painting vivid scenes and bringing characters to life and even just putting words together nicely on a page. But as far as setting aside time to write every day and actually sticking to it, I’m practically Einstein.
Well, most of the time anyway.
The way I go about doing it is by using a schedule book. Every day I write down what I have to do, and I’m not allowed to go to bed until I cross off everything. Of course, “write one page” is written in there too, so if I want to lay down on that sweet soft pillow, my fingers need to get typing.
It follows the same kind of pattern as exercise. The first few times it hurts… a lot. But after the first week, then month, of writing every day, it gets easier and easier until it becomes a habit. Then, something magical happens: you suddenly want to write every day. If you don’t write, you feel bad, just as if you’d missed a favorite TV show, and you rush to finish it before bed.
Of course that sounds great, but it’s a lot of work to get to that point. One thing that helps make it easier is by having an end goal in mind.
What I like to do whenever I start a new novel is plan out how long it will take me. If a 70,000 to 80,000 word novel written in MS Word is around 100 pages, then the initial schedule can look something like this:
A pace of one page per day, six days per week
(one day to rest) results in 100 pages finished in four months!
(Yes I know the last day has 4 pages instead of 1, but hey, most months aren’t 28 days long either, so you don’t have to do that final four page sprint on the last day – you’ll make them up in the 30 and 31 day long months.)
Being able to visualize an end helps make it easier to get started. Personally I find it easier to begin a race when I know where the finish line is rather than running around aimlessly, and the same goes for writing.
So just think – if you started writing one page per day starting today, then you would have that novel you’ve always dreamed of finishing actually done by February. It wouldn’t be ready to ship off to agents by then, but you’d be in a great position to start editing and harassing friends and family for feedback.
And you know what else is in February? Valentine’s Day. What better way to find a significant other (or seduce your current one) than by offering them your recently completed, hot-off-the-word-processor manuscript? Ooh, makes me all tingly just thinking about it!