1. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    Serious writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by sprirj, Sep 30, 2012.

    This week I start putting pen to paper, and writing up my 1st draft proper. I've planned plots, written character profiles, have 14 note books of ideas. All I have to do now is join the dots.

    So does anyone have any ideas for knuckling down and doing the business? Should I be as strict as enforcing a word count, timetable, or impose a reward system?

    This is really important to me but if I'm honest, I do get distracted easily.


    Help!:eek:
     
  2. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Word counts don't matter on the initial "getting it onto paper" stage. That comes later during editing/revising/rewriting that you worry about that. Timetable is whatever works for you-until there's a publisher telling you "Hey, we need a 110k novel by March 1, 2013" for example, then timetable isn't that important. I'm not sure about planning things out to the minute detail, but then, that's just me. I'm one who starts a novel and never knows how it ends until about 75% through it or more. As for getting distracted easy, can't help you there. :)
     
  3. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Give yourself a minimum word count per day, doesn't matter what it is really, though 500 - 2,000 words per day is a good place to start. What matters is getting into a routine of sitting down and writing a story over a number of days. Other than that, keep reading and have fun!
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    No more screwing around. With plots, characters, and fourteen (!) notebooks, you're finished planning. You've just been daydreaming. Get your butt in your chair (or wherever you work) and make sure the words you write from now on are the actual text of your novel. At this point, an hour spent planning is an hour spent not writing.

    So you're at the point where you have to make a decision: Are you a writer or are you a daydreamer?
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The Nike formula: Just Do It.

    Do whatever you need for self-discipline. At the very least, you'll need to set some sort of schedule for yourself. Milestones will help you set and maintain your pace. Too many small milestones, and you won't feel you are accomplishing anything with each one. Too large, and they will be nearly as daunting as setting only a completion target. You'll have to learn from experience what size milestones work best for you.
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Know that feeling when you're standing at the edge of the pool, thinking about how cold it's going to be when you jump in? In the end, you just have to push yourself to get off the ledge and into the water, and know you'll warm up as soon as you start swimming. Same thing here.

    And 14 notebooks, unless they're really small, is too many.

    Get going.
     
  7. shaunplus
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    shaunplus Member

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    I've been in the same boat as you. Today, I just brought my laptop and research to a local lake, took a note from Emerson, and wrote in nature.

    It helped!
     
  8. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    8.45am (UK time) word count:0

    Thanks for the advice. In response, it is 14 small pocket moleskin notebooks. I've written over 29k previously but got lost along the way, hence the over planning this time around.

    Here goes everything!
     
  9. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    In all honesty, you just write :) I sorta know the feeling - right now I'm daydreaming about 2 novel ideas and I'm not writing because I'm scared of the work lol, I only just finished my first round of editing for my completed MS and think I need a break from large projects!

    The way I did it with my first MS - I just told myself, "I need to write, I need to write, I need to write". I literally nagged myself, if you will, so that it became an itch - I HAVE to write. Even now when I'm sorta avoiding projects, I still want to write, and still enjoy writing short stories and trying out writing challenges and such, I still wanna write one or two scenes here and there. And this is when I don't really feel like working. In short, it becomes a habit. Try it - what you tell yourself matters because it's gonna affect your choices and what you do about the things in life, including whether you finish your project. All I told myself before I started was "I will finish." Not I might, not maybe, not "if I..." - but simply, "I will."

    And guess what, I did.

    Good luck!
     
  10. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    12:35pm (UK time) word count:1700

    Anyone care to work out when I will have completed 80k lol
     
  11. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    One other piece of advice: don't think about word count until you've finished the first draft. And even then, it shouldn't be your first concern when reviewing.
     
  12. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    4:25 pm- word count 2000- that's it for Monday.
     
  13. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Congrats, sprirj! You've done a day's work! That's more than a lot of writers manage (including me, sometimes ...). At the rate you're going, you'll have a first draft in 40 days. Good luck!

    And don't forget, once you have the first draft done, you can start the real work of writing: revision.
     
  14. B. Olson West
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    B. Olson West New Member

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    Don't worry - I have severe ADHD and I can write religiously if in the proper state of mind. I've found that writing four thousand words a day, be it notes or the actual story, on the computer or in a notebook, has been a good way to get down to serious business (SRS BSNS!), improve my craft, and have fun. Usually, I begin a day of writing by finding a place to lay, turning off my phone and lights, dimming my laptop screen, closing the curtains, and throwing on a playlist. By the time night's swung around, I've gotten three thousand to five thousand words written, a good chunk edited, three poems finished, or fifteen pages of scribblings in my notebooks.

    So, to sum it all up, sit down somewhere quiet, don't let anything distract you, and get to work. :) I don't know if it's like this with everyone, but, as time passes, you'll be able to turn write-mode on easily, I imagine.

    Tip: Empty your mind of everything but your characters, plot, setting, etc. Do - not - let - anything--I repeat, anything--interfere with your story.

    P. S. - If this sounded pretentious, I'm sorry. >.<
     
  15. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    Bradbury often said, "I jump off the cliff and build my wings on the way down."

    Just start writing, homie, and allow the story the space necessary to unfold.. don't try and force it, only shape it. Writing a story is like creating a river. You can't alter the direction it's traveling without interrupting the natural flow of water, but you can nudge it back on track every so often as it moves, allowing it to go where it needs to go.
     
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  16. Sheriff Woody
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    Sheriff Woody Active Member

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    Write every day. Doesn't matter how much. Just get something done, even if it's two pages. Just get the words down. That's the important thing, especially in the early stages.

    I like to go back and read what I wrote the previous day and tweak that a little. Helps get me in the mood.

    Also, a good trick I found is to stop for the day when you get to a good part, a part you really want to dig into and write. This will give you the desire the next day to sit down and get it done. There should be plenty of moments like this in your story. If there aren't many, that's most likely a problem.
     
  17. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I agree with writing everyday, and the systems for people can be as different as personalities. While I might put a goal of 3k ahead of myself, when writing new, and around 1.5-2.5k in revision and rewriting, a day, but that's just me. Most important thing is getting the discipline to do it daily, and that comes from having a passion for the game.
     
  18. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    Thank you everyone for the support, be it cheering me on, or giving me a good old slap in the face. Yesterday was a bit of a wasted one in terms of writing due to other commitments, but today I'm aiming to produce double what I did on Monday to make up for it. Minstrel, wow thank you for the Maths, it gives me light at the end of a tunnel. Writing a novel is an epic undertaking, but knowing I could easily have it completed by the end of the year really put me in a positive mood. I can do this!
     
  19. Phil Dooley
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    Phil Dooley New Member

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    Hi, I am relatively new to writing - just two years experience, so please when judging my advice bear that in mind.
    The important thing is to just get started. Don't worry about word counts-timetables or anything else, only getting the first chapter written. Once you have this put to bed then attack the second ,by which time hopefully you will have picked up a momentum that suits your life style and style of writing. It is not until you get started that you will be able to realistically appraise the task ahead. Good luck and try to enjoy it.
     
  20. Vworp
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    Vworp Member

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    As others have said, you just need to get started.

    I would suggest jumping in at a random point in the novel, writing that scene, then working your way out from there. Pretty soon, you'll probably find yourself in a much better position to be more methodical.

    What I actually did with my current novel was write a scene that was deliberately "typical" of the main character's life. Nothing happened in it. It was purely for "setting the scene". I built in one or two references to plot points, but basically it was a random entry point into the story.

    And then, many months later, I deleted it because it was no longer needed. It had done its job, which was to allow me into the story, the fictional world, and the main character's head.

    Remember that you can delete anything you write. You don't need a perfect start. You don't even need a good start. You just need a start!
     
  21. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the comments. Everything is helping. Personally, I've done all the planning, as previously mentioned, in my head I have the basic story arc and order for the book. It is just the craft I need to work on. I really have become a believer over this last week, that writing is a craft not an art form. I'm starting to understand it, and become more dedicated to it. I hope this current enlightenment continues! Just wrote another 2000 words, and now have chapter 1 complete. Thanks all.
     
  22. mickal1972
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    mickal1972 New Member

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    Thanks for starting this thread. As a relatively new writer, I am facing a similar situation. And the responses gave me some very good advice and directions to follow also.
     
  23. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    Just write a decent story. Don't worry about word counts.
     
  24. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that may be ok while you're writing, but if you hope to have it published, you do have to consider word count before you start submitting and/or querying...
     
  25. Newfable
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    Newfable Senior Member

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    People say that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s an app for everything.

    There are sites and computer programs that can encourage you to work and form this habit, but even if you can’t find those, grab some blank paper and write it down. Every day, after you write, write about what you wrote, how you felt while doing it, where you plan to go next with it, new ideas that may have sprung out of nothing that you’d like to try out and play with, and your plans and goals for tomorrow, no matter how small they may be.

    And, on day 22, you just keep going.

    It’s not automatic or magic, but it takes a lot of time and patience and, most importantly, forgiveness. You have to be forgiving of yourself if you don’t make a word count or page goal for a day or two; you can make it up later. You have to be forgiving of the fact that you can stare at a blank page all day and inspiration never comes. It’s not a wasted day if you try.

    Another important thing to do, which seems counter intuitive to the writing process, is to share. Just finished a shitty rough draft? Show your friends! Hand it to ‘em and tell them, “Look what bile I produced!” It doesn’t matter how proud you are of it, or how much you loathe what you made, sharing it involves other people in what you’re doing, and that can be important too. I recently finished my first screen play that I actually want to take places, and I showed my friends. I don’t go to them for validation or praise, but just to include someone else in my otherwise lonely process.

    Plenty of practice, plenty of practice.
     

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