Hopefully Writing is Habit Forming

With it being NaNoWriMo season, it has had me thinking about my own temporarily abandoned novel.  I will not be participating in the NaNoWriMo for fear of my GPA taking a a sharp nose dive, but I wonder if this is just an excuse…  A lot of people who are attempting this challenge have full time work, spouses, kids, and I’m sure many are students.  But here I sit in my cozy home office, fearing something that might absorb me for a limited time.  Writing is hard, it’s wonderful, but it’s hard.  I read a few things about the people attempting this feat of writing a 50,000 word novel in one month, it seems a lot of them have already written books (published and unpublished), and it makes me feel like a big ole coward.  These people have accomplished what I have been threatening to do for almost twenty years.  It is my goal to finish the damn thing by 30 (I also plan to loose 30 more pounds, fix the kitchen, complete my Frida garden, and find the meaning of life), but I realize I need to adopt some new habits.

Writers are constantly writing, regardless if it is bad or good, most writers can usually be seen scribbling down a few things every day.  I have a laptop (with a good battery life) I have no excuse.  I think part of my problem, which a teacher of mine pointed out about herself the other day, is that I self edit.  I don’t include all of the things I want to because of a fear of over-examination or poor word choices.  I need to realize editing (while good in small doses while writing) can be done later.  I have written a lot in my mind, but sometimes when I come to my laptop I encounter an issue/problem and then end up editing out the whole idea.  I say no more.  Writing will be my hobby, craft, and goal for each day-even if it is not on “the novel”, I will write.  It think that it will be a great way to explore new styles and find a clearer voice.  Or at least not find my thoughts so boring (well I am stuck with them all day), I might even share some stuff on here-we shall see.

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7 thoughts on “Hopefully Writing is Habit Forming

  1. rule 1 write every day, at the same time at the same place
    rule 2 do not go back and rewrite until the entire story first draft has been completed.
    You cannot write a good first draft because so many changes occur during that draft that going back is a real waste of time. The masterpiece shows up in rewrites, when your subconscious kicks in and all those great ideas that surface as you write your first draft, are incorporated into later drafts.

  2. I’m having the same problem: I totally meant to do NaNo this year, but I have essays due at the beginning of next week. I can’t write a novel when I’m meant to me writing essays. But then I’m not writing essays either, I’m procrastinating. I’ve never been able to get into a writing habit, either. All the “how to write” books tell you to but I find I’m either so inspired that I write thousands of words in one go, or I just stare at the screen until the crushing sense of my own failure becomes too much for me and I find something else to do. Following your blog!

    • Thank you you the comment. I find that I am procrastinating too even on the school work. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. When I am “writing” I feel guilty for not doing my school work, when I am doing my school work I wish I was “writing”. I just need to do it, sort of like going to work out-it may be grueling in the meantime but afterwards at least I can say I did something, and it will add to my happiness (and esteem) later. Following you too.

  3. Two things.

    Number 1: NaNo is great. I love it. But it’s not great for everyone. In fact, author Alan Baxter started a bit of a poo-storm when he posted about why he thinks NaNo does more harm than good. I don’t agree with everything he said, but many of his points are good. Have a read (http://www.alanbaxteronline.com/2011/11/01/nanowrimo.html) and then don’t kick yourself if you don’t think NaNo is for you. It’s better to find a way that works for you, than try to fit into someone else’s idea of the “best way to write”. Otherwise you’ll achieve nothing but self-guilt.

    Number 2: For some people, writing every day is the best habit to get into. For others, not so much. I was at a conference recently where a very established author told us that she wasn’t able to write every day. And that hasn’t stopped her bringing out four highly acclaimed historical novels. For her, it works better to schedule specific days where she can sit down and write for 4 or 5 hours uninterrupted. And she won’t compromise on her writing time. She gets more done that way than if she tries to fit in an hour of writing every night.

    The bottom line is that there are no rules in writing other than that you need to start something and you need to finish something. The order, method, and time you write are completely up to you.

    • Thank you, excellent points. I think I might put your last sentences on a post-it note near my desk so I can read it when I find myself staring off into the wall while I am avoiding the monitor screen. =) Sometimes it is hard to get out of the English class writing style where the requirements of time and quantity are exact. It’s not that I need it for the discipline but rather I need for the reference that it can be done.

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