Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life. ~Henry L. Doherty, Irish-American financier and oilman (whose company became CITGO)
Can you believe it’s been a month since my last post (sounds like the Confessional!)
That’s a long time away from my blog — the longest I’ve ever been absent — but it’s thirty days well-spent.
Here’s a summary of the things I’ve learned:
- November isn’t the best month for book-writing. There, I said it. Na-No-Wri-Mo to the contrary, the second-to-last month in our calendar year is chock-full of Things To Do: family gatherings, shopping, cooking and eating, decking the halls, church services, catching up with friends, and so on. My hat’s off to those even trying to write the 1,666 words per day needed to finish a 50,000 word novel in November (I admit I didn’t do it!)
- Writers in particular (and others in general) need to determine when they’re most productive. I used to be a night owl, but the World of Work turned me into a morning person. Focusing on social media first leaves me too drained to give my novel the attention it needs. Therefore, as my friend John suggested, I’ll be writing first thing in the day from now on and, when I reach my word count, then I’ll do web design work and the social thing.
- My third novel won’t even get started unless and until I have an outline. I know, I know — I’m a pantser at heart, preferring to let my characters direct their story. No more! I’ve followed these (ahem) idiots down more rabbit holes than I care to admit; I’ve run into brick walls and trashed thousands of words. Now, I’ll be the puppet-master, and they can go where I lead.
- Life is more than an arbitrary word count. As my friend Linda reminded me, all work and no play…. well, you know. Voluntarily chaining myself to a desk and chair and having a daily goal isn’t a bad idea; it’s just that such an austere environment has a way of sending the Muse on a cruise. For me, a day off now and then does wonders for my outlook (and productivity).
- There’s no one “right” way to write a novel. I’ve always edited as I write. For the past thirty days, I’ve tried to write fast, to get the words down without my inner editor’s input. The jury’s still out on which style works better. For me, the important thing is that I’m writing … period.