Back in April, I decided that it was time to stop procrastinating the writing of my current novel in progress. So I decided that I would try to write every day in the month of May. Catchy right?
Not only did I want to try to write everyday, but I wanted to write 2,000 words a day! I knew this would be lofty but I had high hopes. I figured that once I got back into my story, it would be smooth sailing and the words would fly from my finger tips easier than they had in the past.
In my opinion, I utterly failed at the goal. I did not write every day, I certainly didn’t reach 2,000 words every time I did manage to write. But in spite of these failures, I learned something really important about my relationship with writing.
If you have been following any of my writing posts, you may have seen me trying to sway you to find your own writing routine – whatever that may look like. Over the past month, I tried to figure out what I was doing right and what wasn’t working. This is just helping me narrow down what does work for me!
I needed a rough outline. For the book I am working on, I needed to be able to have an idea of where I was going and what sections needed to be finished. I didn’t write anything in order, often jumping around to previous chapters or sections to fill in missing information. When I jumped back into the book at the beginning of the month, I felt really confused about the structure and plot, so it required me to spend time organizing what I had and what I wanted to have by the end. I know I have strayed and changed my plan, and will continue to do so until the end, but it was helpful for me to see where I have been and where I could go.
I needed to write every day. Even though I didn’t accomplish this, I was able to see just how important this really is if I want to write stories. When I started, after way too long of a hiatus, I found myself struggling to remember who my characters were, what had happened, and the little details of the relationships I had built. When I was writing more often, it was easier to dive right back in to their lives and feelings and capture their essence.
2,000 words wasn’t working for me. Not only was I trying to write every day, but I wanted to reach 2,000 words! This might sound easy, but if you have been writing you know that it can be incredibly difficult. I realized that for me, this was not a practical number to strive for each day. I did really good till about 1,000 words… and after that I would veer off and become increasingly more distracted.
Writing for page numbers didn’t work for me. Earlier in my writing career, I tried writing 6 pages a day (also a large feat!). That approach didn’t work for me either. I found that the more I tried to force myself to get the page count, the less joy I found in my writing. It wasn’t connecting and flowing as it had been before.
Writing made me happy. Even though some days were filled with doubt about the quality of the book I was writing, I felt pride in what I had accomplished. I wrote a lot in my novel and for my blog over the past month, and the most important thing I learned is that it made me happy. It is what I want to do for the rest of my life, in some capacity.
Moving forward, I have a new goal and a better vision. I hope each and every one of you can continue your writing journey and keep working towards figuring out what works for you. Don’t give up when the days get long. Believe in your words. If it makes you happy, it is worth it.