Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Back to School, Back to Writing
Meet my friend Gerri Russell. She's a two time Golden Heart winner and was first published when she won the American Title Contest a couple years ago. Since her debut in January 2007, she's had 3 more books published. She knows a thing or two about writing. Today she's sharing about how to get back into the writing groove after a summer hiatus. My words are in bold today, Gerri in regular type. Take it away, Gerri.
This summer has been filled with one distraction after another. All the distractions might be fun, but they reek havoc with a writing schedule.
Fall brings consistency of daily writing back into the regime. Are you as ready for a change of season as much as I am. Is it time to get back to writing consistently every single day?
But there may be one little problem…are you ready to get into the groove?
In order to be a marathon runner you must learn to train every day. To start with small goals for activity and slowly build to more. You have to get your muscles in shape and prepare for the ultimate test to your endurance. Is preparing for writing any different? Not really. So what's a writer to do when their muscles are a bit out of shape? When the skills and abilities of achieving page goals each day are a bit…let's be polite here…less than toned? It all goes back to the basics--those same principles marathon runners use.
• Retrain your discipline. This is a tough one. How to be disciplined enough to sit down in your writer's chair after a long break from that habit. Two things that have always worked for me are a quote and a kitchen timer. The quote: "Discipline is remembering what you want." by David Campbell The timer: gets set for 10 minutes the first day, 12 the second, 14 the third, and so on. When the timer is on, I write anything that comes to mind. It's a great way to get back in the habit of writing.
• Start with a plan. What do you want to accomplish? You need a map, a guideline of where you are going. Do you want to complete a whole book by a certain date? Do you want to finish one chapter each week? Write one, three, seven, twenty pages a day?
• Set small goals at first, then build gradually over time to increase your endurance. One you have a plan you can break things down into smaller and realistic goals. Setting goals helps you feel like you are making progress forward. I might start my first week off writing three pages a day, then after the first week bump the total up by 2-3 pages a day until I hit my normal daily average.
• Track your progress. I'm a visual person and I really have to keep a log or a graph to show me what my goal was and then how I'm performing. Placing that chart near my computer desk can really keep me focused and inspired when things are going so well.
• Eat a healthy diet and get enough rest. Yes, you actually write better when you each nutritious food and sleep eight hours a night.
• Celebrate the successes. When you hit your milestones, celebrate the moment. One of my favorite ways to celebrate is to go for a hike. I like to think about it as time off for good behavior. It's also a great way to regroup and feed that writer's well with new thoughts and ideas about what to write next.
What do you need to do to get yourself back in shape after a long summer's break?
Thanks so much for sharing those gems with us, Gerri. I'm thrilled to share that a couple commenters are going to make out like bandits today. Gerri is giving away a copy of her newest release, TO TEMPT A KNIGHT and one of her Brotherhood of Scottish Templar's T-shirts! So leave a comment!
To Tempt a Knight
Upon his return to Scotland from the Crusades, Templar knight Sir William Keith is charged with finding a vital holy relic and protecting the daughter of its former guardian--a task that will force him to choose between duty to his vows and desire for the beautiful, courageous woman finally able to soften his battle-hardened heart.
PS. Wanna join me in a treasure hunt? Be sure to click on the NightOwl Webhunt graphic in the right sidebar and have some end of the summer fun!