I have read numerous books that suggest the only way to grow as a writer is to basically write every day.
Now some of you are thinking, I don’t want to write every day. Sometimes I’m plotting in my head, which is akin to writing, but actually isn’t. I talk to my characters all day long, in my head also, but if I’m not putting words to paper it means I am still that far behind in accomplishing my goal.
One of the books I use in keeping me on track as I write novels is First Draft in 30 Days by Karen Wiesner. (And NO I am not hawking her books). I have used her method because I don’t like to outline. But I have noticed that it helps give me enough structure but doesn’t pigeon hold me into a tight confine where creatively can’t still thrive. It’s a loose enough method for my right and left brain to both feel like they are working.
And one of the things I notice is that if I take the time to start writing, even if my goal is 3 pages, I usually end of writing more. It’s the hardest struggle not to edit as I go. Which some writers may also struggle with. But I give myself permission to write badly. I understand that this draft is just that – a draft and not the final product. I understand that in the editing process more nuances of the story may take shape and I’m prepared when I have a decent outline to start with. And her method helps me stay on track because I can use research as a giant excuse not to write. I can get so sidetracked it would make you think I was working on my PhD.
I like the idea of pages a day instead of word count. And I usually use the same method that I use when I’m working on a screenplay. I visualize the scene and write that instead of thinking of the WHOLE finished book. That is too daunting and can stop you in your tracks.