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thepianist2008
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smiley14.gif posted on 7-5-2007 at 09:04 PM
What are your writing habits?


As I'm sure you all know, much of a person's success at something depends on how much of a habit it becomes for that person. It's like practicing a musical instrument, you get better in proportion to the time you put in and how well you use that time. I figured if we could share our habits, we might get a glimpse into what helps the more prolific writers reach such high daily word counts.

I'll go first. The first thing I do is set up a list of goals for the day. If you want to see how I do this, I posted the method in the tips section of this forum, those that I brought here from NaNoWriMo. I also have a quasi-schedule. I got a a full-time job for the summer, and I work with(for) my mom. It's about a 45-minute drive to work, and she drives on the way up so I can write the whole time (I drive back). This drive is usually enough to get my daily minimum of 1667 words in. Then, on lunch break, I try to sneak in another 500 words while talking to my cousin (rarely happens). When I get home, I don't have much else to do for the day, so I alternate achieving the next goal on my list with other activities such as showering, yoga, piano practice, reading the forums (my fav), and an other things there are to do. I also use the spreadsheet that can be found at http://www.julnowrimo.thewrigro.com It helps to have that motivation, seeing the pie chart and the graphs and my 'Words You Have Left' column consistently depleting. I also check my average words per day and change in pace to keep myself on track. It's also nice to see an estimate of when you'll reach 50,000. :D

Edit: made URL clickable :)

[Edited on 7-6-2007 by JSBulldog89]




...and he can do that, and she can do this, and he can react like that, and she can slap him, and he can yell at her, and then a dead body can come crashing through the ceiling... yippee! XD
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Sobriquet
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[*] posted on 7-6-2007 at 02:01 PM


I have a target for each day which is 2500 words. Then, I try to get a day ahead.

Now, I get stuck really often with my stories, so I have a flowchart with the different parts of the plot (never more than one A4 side). That keeps your plot skeletal so you always know what you want to do next, but you don't have masses of detail to include. Plus, a skeleton is flexible - you can swap two stages around, add bits, take bits away, link things from three steps ahead.

I did a flowchart on the bus on Wednesday and I haven't been stuck on plot since - just on word choice, etc.

My writing habits involved playing the word games when I'm stuck, but I like to write at night.

I sit in bed with a refill pad and my lamp on low, and I write 1000 words at night, while I can't get to sleep. Preceding this, I'll have been writing on the computer downstairs. Then, the next morning, I type up what I've done, and I find I'm getting into the story again, and what I did last is completely fresh in my mind 'cos I've just typed it out.

Sometimes its a good idea to do your last 500 words of a day, before you sleep, on paper, so you can type it up next morning and you'll already be into it, and your style can follow on, too.

That's my trick, I think.

And also ridiculous doses of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition repeats. I'm on my third so far today.




JulNo \'07: 59,557 words.
NaNo \'07: 52,452 words.
JulNo \'08: 53,556 words.
NaNo \'08: epic fail.
JulNo \'09: 19,949 words.
Ever since then? Eep, university.
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Pimento
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[*] posted on 7-7-2007 at 01:31 AM


Hey - it's obvious that those with excellent writing habits are streaking ahead on the word-count. Well done, thepianist2008 and Sobriquet! :)

I wish I could say I had good habits, but before I did Script Frenzy in June, I hadn't done any creative writing for years. Terrible, I know. :embarrassed:

I prefer to write at night on weekends, as the kids are home and man are they distracting. During the week, after I've dropped them at school, I get back home and write like hell.

My aim is to write at least 2000 words a day. I have to build up a fat word buffer for the end of July when I go on holiday for a week. I'll be taking my Alphasmart Dana with me (small and light, easy to pack) but I doubt I'll get the minimum done each day when I'm away.

I've got quite a few ideas rattling around, but I think I need to do a day of planning - like your flow-chart on the bus, Sobriquet! I dove straight in without really planning at all.

Pim.

Edit - terrible typos.

[Edited on 7-7-2007 by Pimento]
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[*] posted on 7-7-2007 at 11:31 PM


I probably don't have very good habits, mostly because I don't have great self-discipline, but I guess I'll share anyway. Whenever I sit down to write after I have stopped for a few hours, I always read the last bit that I wrote during my last writing sprint. Though this sometimes loses me time because my inner editor starts yelling at me to change things and add things and get rid of things that now sound silly, it get my brain going again so starting again isn't as daunting as it would normally be. Unlike the above posters, I don't have particular word count per day goals or anything. I used to write like that, but these days I find that I have some busy days where I may just get the minimum (or not even) and then there are days when I can do so much more than that. I also spend quite a bit of time not writing when I'm just thinking about where my novel is going, which makes hammering out the details easier. This is REALLY embarrassing, but I'll spend time on the bus or even just sitting around in my room or outside imagining whole conversations between characters and different settings and plot twists. XD



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[*] posted on 7-8-2007 at 09:21 AM


I don't have habits. Getting away from any sort of structure beyond a monthly goal is what makes me productive. I don't know why, but it works pretty well for me.
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[*] posted on 7-8-2007 at 01:02 PM


My habit is to get up very early in the morning, before the house wakes up. I work out, to get some blood to my brain, then I sit down to write. My goal is to get an entire scene done each time I write. If it's a short scene, I do another one. I have the story line all mapped out on paper, and although I deviate from it somewhat, it serves as a guide. Funny about the flowchart...I had a dream last night that I put a whiteboard on my wall and drew a story flowchart on it. That was before I ever read these posts.

Anyway, working in scenes helps me to keep my story coherent and flowing toward the goal of the final scene and resolution. It also helps me keep track of all the subplots and making sure I tie up all the loose ends before the final scene.




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[*] posted on 7-8-2007 at 01:16 PM


My habits are definitely not as structed as any of yours, but that's cause I'm a procrastinator by nature. XD

I like to write with just a pen and a little notebook. Every thing I've ever written, be it a poem or story, I've written on paper. I've still got a ton of old notebooks from school and I use every available space I can find to write. I've tried writing on the comp but I'm so bad at typing that if I had some great sentence in my head, it would take me forever to type it and i'd forget it halfway through. So I take my pen and paper, my ipod shuffle and plop myself down on the swing outside and write. It's the perfect place cause no one bothers me, it's quiet and for some reason the rocking of the swing seems to get my creativity flowing.

Sometimes, I'll try to write before I go to bed but my husband always ends up distracting me. So whenever I get the chance, I make my way outside. It's gonna be hard now that it's going to be in the high 90's all week but I'll go out in the morning and write or just as the sun is setting.

As for trying to set a word count for myself, I couldn't. I just write until I can't and then come back to it later. The last two years I did Nano and never finished it cause I would let my inner editor get the best of me. I'd go back and rewrite the whole thing till I just got frustrated and quit. This year, I've decided to write stream of conciousness like and force myself to not go back and change anything. So far it seems to be working.
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thepianist2008
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[*] posted on 7-8-2007 at 08:36 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by bouncy_girl
...I always read the last bit that I wrote during my last writing sprint. Though this sometimes loses me time because my inner editor starts yelling at me to change things and add things and get rid of things that now sound silly...


Hey! Remember, you can control this. I have a similar problem, but you have to learn to shut the inner editor up. Just now I realized that my heroine's hair is supposed to be blonde again, but it's still brown from the last time she dyed it. You know what? I'll change it when I edit the novel. For now, she's walking around a city of blondes with brown hair. I even remembered to change the hero's hair, but hers completely skipped my mind.:D




...and he can do that, and she can do this, and he can react like that, and she can slap him, and he can yell at her, and then a dead body can come crashing through the ceiling... yippee! XD
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[*] posted on 7-9-2007 at 05:41 AM


I have one absolutely awful habit:

I never, ever, ever redraft anything. Ever.

I'm trying to change, but I can't manage it - I only ever do one draft. I find that I only skim when I re-read, and so I miss the mistakes anyway. This year though, I'm going to try and print my story and take a hard copy away with me to attack with highlighters and pencil...




JulNo \'07: 59,557 words.
NaNo \'07: 52,452 words.
JulNo \'08: 53,556 words.
NaNo \'08: epic fail.
JulNo \'09: 19,949 words.
Ever since then? Eep, university.
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[*] posted on 7-9-2007 at 11:11 AM


Quote:
Hey! Remember, you can control this. I have a similar problem, but you have to learn to shut the inner editor up. Just now I realized that my heroine's hair is supposed to be blonde again, but it's still brown from the last time she dyed it. You know what? I'll change it when I edit the novel. For now, she's walking around a city of blondes with brown hair. I even remembered to change the hero's hair, but hers completely skipped my mind.:D


I applaud you for being about to ignore those little mistakes - picky details sometimes bother me to the point where it would just save energy for me to go back and spend ten or twenty minutes fixing whatever it was. I'm an incurable perfectionist but as you say, I will try to work on it! I must banish my inner editor! :P
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thepianist2008
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[*] posted on 7-9-2007 at 08:56 PM


Sobriquet, try reading your novel out loud to yourself when you do your edit. I know it'll get tedious, but that way you won't fall into the trap of skimming through your work. Plus, you'll find sections that sound okay when you read silently, but sound awkward when you say them out loud. I hope the people at my lunch table don't hate me after I spend every day in September and probably October too reading my novel aloud to myself.:D



...and he can do that, and she can do this, and he can react like that, and she can slap him, and he can yell at her, and then a dead body can come crashing through the ceiling... yippee! XD
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[*] posted on 7-9-2007 at 09:52 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by thepianist2008
Sobriquet, try reading your novel out loud to yourself when you do your edit. I know it'll get tedious, but that way you won't fall into the trap of skimming through your work. Plus, you'll find sections that sound okay when you read silently, but sound awkward when you say them out loud. I hope the people at my lunch table don't hate me after I spend every day in September and probably October too reading my novel aloud to myself.:D


This should work especially well for dialogue--you can decide for yourself if the dialogue seems realistic or not.




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[*] posted on 7-10-2007 at 12:48 AM


Word wars. Seriously, I would be a lost soul without them. I rarely write when the sun is up though, but I also work a lot so I guess that isn't very surprising. I'm a nighttime person and closing the door after my entire family is asleep, putting on music, and writing like a mad woman usually lets me get the words I need.

I also usually write until I run out of steam for the night, but after the end of June because so crappy, extreme insomnia (seriously, I've gotten like 24 hours of sleep in the past week), going crazy (long story), and working six days a week I'm trying to do only what I need to do for the day to avoid burn out. A little over one week down and I'm still slightly sane so I think I'm still good.




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