Now we are in November, a prime time for writers with the likes of NaNoWriMo hanging about for you to sink your teeth into. Whether you participate in this month long event or not, we all struggle in the winter months to get those words out. Here are some of tips from our members, to help inspire you through these darker days.
One thing almost every one of my writing friends have mentioned is the difficulty of even getting started writing, let alone finishing anything, during this strange new world we are living in.
A famous method is called the Pomodoro Technique. Many will have come across similar ideas before. Here is my ‘writing’ take on the process:
- Write down a straightforward goal: to complete a chapter you’ve started; to write a description of a main character; to edit that chapter you did manage to finish; to write without your usual breaks for research, correcting spelling, consulting the thesaurus etc.
- Try to make sure your goal is specific and not too lengthy ie not ‘to complete fifty thousand words of something before tea’.
- Set a timer for a limit of 25 or 30 minutes. Any longer and you may end up giving up, any shorter and you may feel you’ve not accomplished enough.
- Write for that length of time without allowing yourself any interruptions. Some may find using pen and paper makes this easier, rather than using a computer. If you do use technology, make sure you are not online, and do not answer or even look at emails, Messenger, Twitter etc. No ‘just getting that coffee’, ‘just put some washing in’. No editing, either. Focus totally on your writing task (that includes telling family members and pets to go away no matter what. Or at least only interrupt if the house is on fire and they want to rescue you.)
- When the timer rings, stop, (unless in the middle of that streak of perfect writing we all aspire to) and have a five minute break.
Repeat the process.
After three or four half hour sprints, take a longer break. Review what you have achieved.
Get into the habit of doing this at least once a day – even if you only manage one or two ‘sprints’, you will make progress and feel much more positive about your writing.
- Write in the brightest room of your house to keep up your spirits on the darkest days.
- Type in fingerless gloves to prevent desktop chill but also to feel like an eccentric Victorian craftsman.
- Try to write one story or poem about festive cheer, even if you’re the only one who will ever read it.
1. Turn off your inner editor and focus on the word count. Any issues can be sorted out afterwards.
2. Try and get extra words done at the start of the month, so that if you struggle on latter days you have some banked.
3. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself! The point of Nano is to give everyone enthusiasm and support. Anything you write is a bonus.
We hope our tips help stir you to write something, anything at all this month!
If you are in more of a snuggling down by the fire, blanket over the shoulders with a good book mood, why not jump into Nick’s series, the latest of which has just arrived!
Dive into the Hybrid series and catch up this winter holiday, so that you can enjoy book 4, Damned and the linked novella following Lady Sarah, Ascension.