Megan Norris Jones
This is the last week of Write by Midnight. My record this month hasn’t been perfect, but, despite numerous family obligations and unexpected responsibilities, I have managed to get up early most mornings and write. I really think I’ve established a habit. Hooray!
But an extra thirty minutes a day, while extremely helpful, won’t get my novel polished and published any time soon. So, as the month comes to a close, I’ve been considering ways to maximize my scarce writing time.
One method I’ve been experimenting with is “mental writing” while I’m engaged in other necessary tasks that require my body but not my mind. You know the ones I mean: washing dishes, folding clothes, walking the dog. I often end a writing session with a problem that I must solve in order to continue. Rather than use my precious writing time to stare at my computer screen and try to figure out what I need to write next, I use my mental writing time to work through the problem so that when I sit down at my computer again, I can dedicate the time to actual writing.
The time I spend outside or exercising seems to be the most effective, and there’s a long tradition of writers using long walks to work through narrative issues, but any time I can squeeze in some extra thought about my own story is helpful. As a result, even if I’m not writing for longer stretches, the time I do spend writing is more efficient.
How do you maximize your own writing time?
Yesterday, I had the privilege of accompanying my daughter’s class to hear Eva Schloss, a Holocaust survivor and the step-sister of Anne Frank, speak. Mrs. Schloss’s story was heartbreaking, compelling and memorable. She said during the program that she didn’t share her story for a long time, but came to realize that it needed to be told. Her messages of hope and acceptance also, in my opinion, needed to be heard.
As writers, I think we all have a pressing need to share our stories, even if it takes us a lifetime to tell them. By writing about experiences, whether real or imagined, we evoke sympathy, empathy and countless other emotions that connect us to one another as a human race.
So keep that in mind today as you work on your manuscript. Dig deep. Listen to the story inside you that must be told and must be heard. I promise, someone is waiting to hear what you have to say in the way only you can say it.
We’re entering the final week to the Write by Midnight challenge. By now, you should have a good idea of what’s working for you and what isn’t.
Don’t fret about what isn’t working. Instead, focus this week on the ways you’ve been able to be successful and replicate those strategies as best you can. Let the light at the end of the tunnel illuminate your path to creating a daily writing habit and reaching your goals.
Now is the time to give it your all. Make every last one of these days count. Write with the knowledge that you’re almost done.
Next week, we’ll be asking you to share your journey with us. We can’t wait to hear what you have to tell us.
We’ve all heard the advice “write every day,” and it’s the base goal of the Write by Midnight challenge: to establish a daily writing habit. But one thing I’ve seen in the first three weeks of WBM is that I am a yo-yo writer.
One day my production is great—600 words plus at a rate of better than 450 words/hour, and I easily surpass my 500 word/day goal. But then the next day’s word count is dismal. (I mean really dismal, like 35 words in two hours.) Then it’s back up to OK the following day. A graph of production looks like a schizophrenic EKG. Continue reading
One of my two goals for WBM was to finish writing the rising action of my novel. The other? To avoid reading when I should be writing. If you’ve read past posts, you know I love books. I can’t imagine a writer not. But I think like anyone, especially when you feel stuck, it seems more inviting to get lost in someone else’s words rather than fighting a losing battle against your own. Continue reading