Saturday, March 2, 2013

Keeping Writing Going: 250 words at time

The +Flash Fiction Project work I've done in January and February has been a lot of fun, but is it really helping me with my big writing project? I'm not sure.

I have this great general concept for a novel: a very fun what-if question. I've had a great time meeting my characters, but I feel like I'm plodding along now. Plot is my weak point, I guess.  This particular idea, at least, came with the general concept and characters followed easily enough, but I'm struggling with forward momentum for the story.

So, I dove into all those short pieces thinking I might find inspiration.  So far, not so much. The pieces were fun in and of themselves, but they don't seem to be feeding my novel.

But I did hit upon another idea that might help. The Magic Spreadsheet! Have you heard about this, writing friends?   It's a simple idea: you commit to write 250 words a day on your project.  You track this commitment on a spreadsheet which awards you points for consistency.  

What convinced me to try it was that 250 is such a reasonable expectation, even with my life.   After all, 250 words is not that much. This blog post is already 206 words.  Finding time for 250 words doesn't seem daunting. Not like finding time for 60,000 words (a generally accepted minimum length for a novel).  250 words can be written in the morning between my cup of tea and time to wake the kids, or while standing up in the kitchen while supper is baking or simmering. 250 words can slide out while I'm procrastinating on the next day's lesson plans.

But, if I do it--if I write 250 words a day, I'll have my 60,000 in 240 days--less than a year!  It took me four years to write my first novel . .. and it's not ready for publication. It still needs a heavy rewrite. Four years to eek a first draft out of the corners of my life and scraps of energy I could steal from all my other demands. It's exciting to think about having that many words in less than one year.

I tried this last month. And got sick. Stupidly, delirious with fever sick. So, I failed in February. But March! March is going to be my month. 250 words down.  59, 750 to go.

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