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Novels and Time
As an aspiring author I have seen my far share of blogs and articles pertaining to novel writing. They all usually say just about the same thing. The blogs start out with telling the reader how intimidating it can be to sit in front of a blank page and how would-be authors should do this, that, and the other to complete their book within a certain amount of time. Well, for some people these trite methods might work, but for a lot of others it is a total shame.
- Write just about every day, even if it is only a sentence.
- Keep a thesaurus and dictionary close at all times. They have saved my butt while writing on more than one occasion.
- Stop comparing your work to everyone else's. Your writing is your own.
- Step back/take a break from your work if it's stressing you out. No, I don't mean for weeks at a time--unless that seems appropriate. I mean for a few hours or possibly a day or two. Less stress equals better work.
Feeling the Pressure
Okay, so the creative juices have got you all in a tizzy, and you're ready and willing to jot your ideas down on paper. Next thing you know, you have fifty pages of heart pounding, jaw dropping fiction, and you start tooting your own horn, thinking, "Hey, I could really get this published." So, you rush onto some search engine and start scrolling through pages on how to go about getting published. Along the way you notice some websites offering advice on how to write your novel in thirty days. Still enthralled by the high of becoming a novelist, you click on the links and begin reading. The advice seems sound. The thirty day concept sounds doable. You're well on your way to becoming a big time author.
Then, the next day comes.
You sit down to pump out more fantastic literature. You get a good three of four pages done,--or maybe even two--and something knocks you clean off cloud nine. It's your focus. You just can't seem to conjure up any more sentences for your story. With a tight chest and a boggled brain you start to think, "Now how am I supposed to get my book done in a month?"
This was sort of what I went through. No, I didn't exactly get fifty pages into my novel before I started researching how to get published, but I did see sites that promised authors finished novels in about thirty days if they did a set amount of work every day. Okay, sure this mathematically makes sense. Do three to five pages every day and you'll finish your book by the end of the month. But realistically writing doesn't always pan out that way. If you're an avid writer like me, you understand all too well that some days are just better than others. Those twenty-four hours can be extremely stressful and upsetting when you have set your daily goal high and cannot quite meet your quota.
So this is my advice. I've learned that you can't force the words to come. Trying to only leaves you with work that makes you want to gag or slap yourself silly. Please, don't abuse yourself. I have spent plenty of time beating myself up because I set standards that weren't realistic for how I work. Let the words flow through you. Don't squeeze them out like a pimple that won't pop. The truth is that everyone has their own way of doing things, and each of these ways works best for them. Remember: it isn't necessarily how fast you can write a novel, it's the quality of the novel that makes it worth while.
Writers with a Deadline
Although the above advice is for authors who have no specific deadline, it can still work for those of you who have a set amount of time to finish your work. Truthfully, meeting deadlines is all about time management. Don't ever put off the entire piece you're supposed to write until the very last minute. Again, this leads to forced words and shoddy quality. I cannot get across how important it is to figure out what best works for you.
A fellow writer once told me how emotional a breed we are--a statement that I back up ninety-nine point nine percent (the point one percent is for all of you out there with an affinity for writing who got lucky enough to have rather stable emotions). When we feel rushed, we can end up going to some pretty dark places, especially if a piece of our work is out in the world that we wouldn't even wipe our bum with. Whether you're a journalist for the New York Times or a renowned author struggling to meet a publishing house or agent's deadline, get to know yourself a little better. Stray away from that career killing fungus known as procrastination. You and your work will be all the better if you just bite the bullet, sit down, and figure out a way to evenly and effectively spread out your time.
Just for You
Here's a link to some extra info on writing within a deadline. This particular article comes from a writer who has had way more experience in the field and seems to really know her stuff. Enjoy!
Also, here's a video link I found that seems to be pretty helpful. It doesn't pertain to deadlines but is helpful for those of you who might be struggling with that dreaded of all conditions, writer's block. Some of the tips mentioned in the video are techniques I actually use while writing and I hope they work for all of you too.