Monday, 5 August 2013

Personality, Work Habits & Change

I've been thinking a lot about WHY it's been so hard to get the writing done. I can write. I have written. I finished and won two Camp NaNos. "So why, in between times, can't I just get the WIP written?" I asked myself.

The answer boiled down to my personality and how I like to write.

Writing for 15 minutes a day is good advice. 15 minutes a day is better than 0 minutes a day.

But 15 minutes a day is just time enough for me to make notes, jot down ideas. It's not long enough for me to do any "proper" writing.

That's because of my personality and the way I like to work. I don't like skimming the surface of things. I like to dive deep, explore, question, and sift through material (mentally and on paper) while I'm writing. One idea will lead to another. One sentence - maybe even only one word - will set me on fire and then my scene gathers momentum and takes off in a direction that my logical mind could NEVER have foreseen or come up with.

I need time to warm up my writing muscles and ready myself for the rockets and fireworks that will follow and I need the time to get it all down on paper.

This week I knew I had two choices. I could either resign myself to the fact that I would only have a few minutes here and there to make notes, or I would have to make some changes in my day that allowed me to have an hour of uninterrupted writing time. I liked Option No 2 better. And then I thought, "Hey, dream BIG! How can I organise things so that I have both options?"

I spoke to my husband and we agreed that having an hour's writing time in the local library was doable. He said Go for it. So I did.

I spent two days last week in the library for one hour doing writing exercises.  It was pure pleasure from start to finish. I discovered some crucial backstory in one session and I discovered the means to foreshadow a very important development in my protagonist and I wrote REAMS!

In case you're interested, the writing exercises I used are the Start to Finish exercises by the Accidental Novelist on her old blog. (If you look about half way down the blue sidebar on the right hand side you'll see the heading Start to Finish and the list of posts beneath). The exercises aim to help screenwriters develop a screenplay in about three months or so - but the exercises can also be used by novelists because they're all about discovering the story you want to tell.

Here's my weekly update:

Writing Goals:

1. Meditate before each writing session - This is next to nigh impossible in the library, so I'm changing this one to meditate daily

2. Work on my novel for at least 15 minutes each day - I'm changing this one to writing for an hour at least three days a week

3. Check in with ROW80 and leave comments on at least 5 other ROW80 blogs - Very doable. And done.

Non-Writing Goals:

4. Create a new habit of getting to bed by 11pm at the latest every night - Tick

5. Find a way to have some down-time each day - Having one hour in the library three tines a week qualifies, so I just need to come up with a plan for the other four days

6. Practice one technique a week from "Just One Thing" by Rick Hanson - I'm still working on the second technique. This week I was a bit more distracted; I feel I need to meditate every day just to that I have the calm and centred awareness to remember to practice the techniques.

I found a really nice (and f*r*e*e*) resource online by Laura Silva. They're meditations to help you relax and to promote healing.

All in all, a good week. Much better than I've been doing for a while. :)

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