In April, I set myself two writing goals. The first was to write every day – and, more specifically, to write between 6.30 and 7.30 ever day without allowing myself to be distracted by the internet, school work, checking whether I had enough to buy a new summer dress yet – all those little things that can add up to a hell of a lot of non-writing time. Obviously school work needs doing, but for most of March I’d managed my goal of finishing by 6.30 on a weekday, and figured that if I needed to go beyond that I could always work into the evening after my hour.
The second was to use Rachel Aaron’s method, from her book which I reviewed here. The premise is simple – plan before you write. And not just vague planning, either, but planning the entire scene e.g. a conversation about what? A character moves across the room and opens the door. A description of it, basically. Her suggestion is that writing is two sets of decisions – what happens and how to describe it. By doing these at the same time you’re making life much harder for yourself.
April has been my most successful writing month in a long time, and I’m attaching a picture of the word tracker i used to show you what I mean.
There are some days I didn’t write. I was away from home for a few days, and on some of those days I didn’t get to my laptop. I would like to improve that in future so that every day I do write, even if I have to write earlier knowing I won’t get to my laptop at 6.30. Each daily grid (the yellow) represents 1000 words, with each small square representing 100 words.
The orange is planning, the black writing the story. Having the scene planned has made a massive difference, not just to basic word count but to simply getting down and writing. By ending the writing session with a plan for the next day’s scene, it leaves me itching to get on with it, making time to write rather than blowing it off, and it means that when I do sit down to write there’s no faffing about. I know what I’m supposed to write and how it goes – the decision is what words to use. There were some days I only managed fifteen minutes. But there are plenty of days in here where i had to add in extra boxes because I went over the 1000 I’d left room for.
Between the two goals, I wrote 21, 676 words in April – an average 722. While that might not sound amazing, it is far better than I achieved in March – around 5000, total, using the same counting of plan and story. I quadrupled my monthly count, and I love what I’m writing.
My goal for May is to increase my average word count; I’d like to hit 1000 average, which will mean making the effort to write every day and keep that up. More importantly, I want to finish the story I’m currently writing, which I think might just about reach novella length, and release that on kindle in June.
- Nailing your Goals Before you Start Publishing (vincentstrangecraft.wordpress.com)
- Resolutions Update – April 2013 (ellieashe.com)