In an attempt to ensure the ink continues to flow I am unofficially attempting NaNoWriMo for the first time. It is actually going reasonably well and apart from one day I have easily met the daily target. This also means that I have been focused on my drafting again and so a little lax with my other writing commitments (hence the first post in ages).
The (albeit unofficial) target is certainly helping me maintain my daily writing practice. Setting targets can be a useful tool to keep the writing flowing, but I must admit that it doesn’t always work for me. There have been times (and quite recently) when I haven’t been meeting my daily writing goal resulting in guilt and stress and subsequent blocks.
To keep the writing flowing it is important to have a good understanding of your own processes and what tools to use when the writing starts to stall or stops.
During my recent dry spell I did not stop to consider the tools that usually help me move beyond a block. Part of the reason that I didn’t consider what could help is that I had slipped out of the habit of reflecting on my writing processes and thinking critically about what I am doing, how I am doing it, what works and what does not.
Simple review can be as easy as what worked and what didn’t, how I went with meeting my daily goals and if they are bringing me closer to meeting my weekly and longer term goals. If not, then why not? What was different about today or what could change to get done what I planned?
My life changed when I moved in with my parents a little over 12 months ago. My evening routine changed and this impacted on my planning, reviewing and my writing processes the following day. I am now actively trying to change that back a little closer to what it was. This is not always easy and I am hoping that within the next six months I will be in my own (brand new) home and I can rework my schedule.
I have found that the easiest way to meet my target is to have a plan before I sit down. To have an idea of the scene I want to write, or character I want to explore. I don’t need it in detail, that isn’t how I write, but an idea of a start is very useful. The clearer I am on what I am doing during a writing session the quicker I find my flow and the easier the words fill the page.
Although I am focused on my drafting, even dreaming of my characters now, I have other writing commitments too. Sometimes when it is hard to start on my current draft I can outline a few blog posts or try to refine one and then once the words are flowing and I have finished something I can go back to the drafting with a clear head.
Your writer’s toolbox might have a lot of tools in it but combining these to work together is better to keep you writing. Although setting targets are useful, I need to pair that with a clear writing goal, booked writing time and consider multiple projects to ensure I am writing.
How is NoNoWriMo going for you? What is helping you meet your daily target?