April is fast approaching. When last we spoke about CampNaNoWriMo, we had an honest conversation about the difficulties the spring and summer months present WriMos. Now it’s time to impart a few tips on how to overcome these difficulties. Of course, solutions are going to vary from person to person because we are all different. But I hope that at least some of you will find these tips helpful.
So, you’re getting distracted. Everyone is having a blast, laughing with each other and you’re stuck sitting at your computer, telling yourself you must write but unable to plaster anything onto the screen (or paper if you’re writing by hand). You just can’t focus enough to get a single word out.
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. This is one of the hardest parts of writing so I give you this one tip that will basically prevent this scenario. Pick a time of day to write and give yourself a time constraint. If writing is truly important to you, you will make sacrifices, whether that be an hour or two of family time or an hour or two of sleep. You and only you can choose what is most important in your life. If you are committed to this novel, then you will have to choose. Especially when you only have the next month to write the whole darn thing.
While composing Traitors & Tyrants‘s first draft, I found it very helpful, actually, no; I found it essential that I pick a time of day to write. And it had to be one of my most productive times. Notice that I say productive, not creative. I don’t care if you get all of your ideas at night. Write them in a notebook because your most creative time may not necessarily be your most productive time (i.e. driving to work, taking a shower, eating lunch, etc.). And if it is, then bravo and take advantage of that.
I am most productive in the morning. If I’m going to get anything done on the weekends or on vacation days, then it’s going to be in the morning. This is a small window of time to accomplish things since I also like my beauty sleep. From nearly the moment I began writing Traitors & Tyrants to the moment I finished it, I set aside an hour of my mornings every single weekday. The weekends became bonus time.
Now, obviously, you’re probably going to have to spend more time with your novels this April since the goal is to write the entire thing during this time. So take a moment to think about what times or days you are most productive and create a writing schedule you can stick to.
All right, you’ve found the perfect time to write. But the words still aren’t flowing. Things aren’t going the way you’d hoped.
Dude, I understand completely. So let’s take a step back and thing about those times the writing flowed. You were into the story and nothing was going to stop you except maybe the termination of the cozy atmosphere you’d created.
For some of you, this cozy atmosphere might be complete and utter silence. For others it could be the right music or maybe you need some background noise. Some of you might find that the solution varies from project to project. Whatever it is, use it to your advantage so you can maximize your productivity.
So how do you prepare yourself in the coming days? Spend some time with your novel and pinpoint the feel and atmosphere it exudes. If you’re writing fantasy, maybe you need some great soundtracks to listen to (that’s me all the way). Maybe you’re writing a contemporary and need some songs with a bit more human feeling behind them (a.k.a. lyrics). I find that’s the case for me when I write anything contemporary.
Remember to adapt. You might find that your perfect solution of soundtracks is no longer a solution and you need complete silence. Close the door. Get some earplugs. (If you don’t have earplugs, I’ve found that ear buds are pretty good at cancelling out most if not all noise.) Or maybe it’ll be the other way around. Maybe the silence you thought you’d need really isn’t the right thing.
To everyone I say, make a game plan. Outline if you must. Create your writing schedules. Whatever it is that you need to do, do it. Don’t expect to just sit down in April and continue on with your normal routines and be able to complete your novels (unless, of course, your normal routines are far more creative and writing-centered than mine).