November 30, 2017 in Dag

A little bit here and a little bit there – and suddenly there’s a story

I’m a busy man. I’ve previously posted about the challenges I have finding time to write. Between a full-time job and a family, I have to work quite hard to make the time I need to work on my writing.

Over most of this year, I’ve managed to come up with a sort of routine to ensure the writing gets done. It’s not particularly sophisticated but it seems to work. It goes something like this.

Over the course of the week (i.e. Monday to Friday), I try to reserve at least two evenings, after dinner and all the tidying up required, for some writing time. Sometimes, I can even manage three. Four is not really feasible. I need at least one night a week to relax and take the pressure off my brain cells. And Friday night is pretty much a no-go zone as it almost always involves family dinners.

On the weekend, I aim for one writing session on Saturday and one on Sunday. This is not as easy as it sounds, given the number of chores and engagements that usually sit over both days, but I usually manage to steal an hour here or there.

So what do I mean by a writing session. Very simple – 500 words. That is my goal for any writing session. That means 1000-1500 words on working days and another 1000 on the weekend – leading to a total of 2000-2500 per week.

500 words doesn’t seem like all that much. Sometimes it barely covers a description, or a small subsection of a larger scene of dialogue. And yet, it’s amazing how it starts to build up. 500 words here and 500 words there and suddenly there’s a completed scene. Add a few more 500 words, and then another couple and there’s a chapter. And then another chapter, and another. Before I even know it, a story is beginning to take form in front of my eyes.

It’s slow work. I’m sure a lot of my fellow writers would be horrified at such a tortoise-like pace. I hear of people who churn out 1000s of words a day. Believe me, if I could I would. But for me, this slow and steady progress is the only way I could possibly be able to get any writing done. If I tried to do any more, I would burn myself out for sure.

With all these little 500 word steps, I’ve now completed over 65K words. I feel like I’m producing something really substantial. It’s going to take a few more months to finish, and remember that’s just a rough first draft. With all the rewriting it will need, I’m unlikely to have it ready for an editor within the next two years.

So, at least for now, I’m going to keep plodding along. One day I’ll get to the end. And then I’ll start over again.

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