I was looking back at my last couple of posts today and see that a month ago, I had noted crossing the 22,000 word count on my new novel, The Year of Gwendolyn Presley Flowers. In just the last month, I’ve written another 8,000+ words. When I reflect on this progress, what stands out is how I’ve immersed myself day-in, day-out in the writing life.
As expected, that means lifestyle changes that aren’t always welcome. After working a day job for eight hours, I’m the first to admit to wanting to come home and find something mindless on television to settle into. That, however, is not going to get the second book written, and sometimes I just have to remind myself how important this is.
So what did I change this past month?
Drive Time: Instead of tuning into my Pandora driving to work, errands…I stick to podcasts – right now, I’m hooked on the diyMFA podcast by Gabriela Pereira.
Breaks & Lunches: If I go for a walk on my break or lunch, then again, I listen to podcasts. The subject is always different – from an agent talking about improving your query to an author/editor team discussing their relationship. It’s just a great piece of your support system, and has help keep me focused on my writing life all day long! If the weather doesn’t allow for my walk, then I either compose a blog (like right now) or I find a quiet spot and go work on a scene or two. Every word counts!
Reading: I usually have two books going at one time. One for pleasure, and one strictly for the writing life. Currently, my pleasure book is I’d Die for You, the last collection of unpublished short stories by Fitzgerald….so I’m getting extra points! What I am trying to improve on in this area is learning to read like a writer – and I’m almost to the “Reading with Purpose” section of my current craft book, DIY MFA: Write with Focus, Read with Purpose, Build Your Community. As I expand this skill, I will be using even more of my time with my own writing in mind.
Community: I have a local writer’s group where I can read my current WIP and get feedback, and lately I have developed a couple of fantastic ‘pen-pal’ friendships (one as far away as New Zealand) that are actually becoming a huge help in giving honest feedback with suggestions I’m already starting to put into practice.
Writing time: By the time it’s actually writing time, I have often written a scene or two at work and then upload it into my yWriter software. I’m always thinking of what scene comes next, who’s in it and how it moves the story forward. Spending all my extra time indulging myself with these activities keeps the book in the front of my mind. And with another project waiting for me to finish Gwendolyn, I am setting a strong deadline to finish so I am through the writing and editing by the end of the year. Final goal is to begin querying agents by then, while starting the new Gramercy Gates series.
If I keep myself immersed like this, then treating myself to an episode of Project Runway, Wentworth, OITNB or Big Brother is okay, right?? Of course it is, your mind is a muscle, and letting it rest is also important.
How are you willing to increase the time for your writing world?