Our lives are filled with responsibilities: family, work, and if we’re lucky enough, play. When do we have time to write?
In my first attempt at writing a mystery, I couldn’t find much time, certainly not on a regular basis. And, my work suffered. Each time I’d get back to the story, I’d have to re-read chapters to remind myself where the story had gone and where I wanted it to go. More importantly, I had forgotten all about my characters and their motivations. I found that trying to re-capture the creative flow of my thoughts from the distance of a week or more was impossible. Instead of being in the mind and heart of my characters, I was trying to re-invent them. I’d lost my connection.
I did myself and the story a disservice by treating my writing like a part-time hobby. That partial manuscript now sits in writer’s limbo.
It wasn’t until I got involved in NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month), that I discovered a writing secret that successful authors have been telling us all along. Write every day for at least a few minutes. Don’t worry how good it is. Just write.
I entered NANOWRIMO and pledged to write 50,000 words in one month. Egad!
I did it, and finished with over 53,000 words. That’s when I learned that it wasn’t how many words I wrote at one time that was important, but how many times I wrote the words.
I can always find a few minutes in a day to write something to keep me immersed in my work.
Today, with my mind on my future best-seller, I sometimes wake up in the morning with ideas churning in my head. I keep a notebook next to my bed so I won’t lose those gems.
Right now I’m in the editing mode, but I still work on it every day. It’s too easy to make mistakes. I was about to rewrite a paragraph the other day when I thought I detected a familiar ring to the words. Yup. When I looked back, I found the same wording in an earlier paragraph. If I hadn’t kept current on my edits, I might have missed it.
One of my favorite authors, Janet Evanovich, in her book, “How I Write” has five “Rules For Successful Writing” and one of them is “Make writing a responsibility. Think of it like a job and show up on time.”
Charlaine Harris, author of many successful series, including the Sookie Stackhouse series, told us at a Crimebake Conference that she gets up in the morning and goes to her office, as if it were a job.
It’s important to keep your work fresh in your mind, and your fingers on the keyboard. How many strokes does it take to make a book? You’ll never know until you try. Good Luck!