Wednesday, November 3, 2010

All Aboard! (*cue maniacal laughter and intro music*)

November is here, and even though I'm not a ticketed passenger aboard the NaNo Crazy Train, I am inspired to set challenging goals for myself.  I have Stephen King to thank, as absurd as that sounds.  His book On Writing has lit a bonfire under my writer's ass.  (Seriously, if you haven't read that book, you're missing out.  Here's the Amazon link: To The Best Writing Book on the Craft...EVAH.)

King isn't the only successful writer to advocate a daily writing schedule, and I adopted the practice over a year ago.  My problem has been considering blog post writing part of that goal.  Some days, if I'm being completely honest, the only writing I accomplish is on my blog.  That will change this month.

Starting this past Monday, I no longer consider writing on my blog part of my daily writing practice.  Per Mr. King's advice, I pledge to write between 1000 and 2000 words a day OF MY MANUSCRIPT.  In On Writing, King talks about two catagories of daily writing: "With the Door Closed" and "With the Door Open."

In November, I'll be writing with the door closed.

What he refers to by "writing with the door closed" is how (he suggests) a writer should pen the first draft.  The door to your writing space is closed; the phone is unplugged/off; the Internet is closed -- no Blogger/Twitter/FaceBook/email/  No matter what, you sit down to write and you don't stop before you've met your word count goal.

Now, some may not agree with this method.  We all work differently, and there's no right or wrong way to approach your craft.  But my goal for the month of November is to re-establish productive daily writing habits, and I'm riding my tidal wave of On Writing inspiration.  So far, I've had success.  On Monday I wrote 1467 words, and yesterday I wrote 2150.  Today, I'm shooting for 2000.

Incidentally, "writing with the door open" refers to the revision/edit phase of a MS when, according to Stephen King, it's time to show some of your work to a small group of beta readers.  I part company with King's philosophy on this point.  (He's probably right, mind you.  But I have my reasons...)  I plan to continue sharing my rough, first draft work with Jessica, my awesome critique partner.  At least for this, my first novel, I appreciate the feedback she gives me and the "deadlines" we stick to in exchanging our work.  That, too, is keeping me on track.

I still plan to write occasional blog posts, but I won't be sticking to my regular MWF schedule.  I probably won't be able to comment on your posts as often, either.  I think November is the best month to relax the blog schedule, since so many of you purchased your NaNo tickets this year.  I think we'll all be ready to meet back here in December, right?

So, happy writing to all of you.  Best of luck meeting your daily work count goals, and remember to schedule in and enjoy your downtime with family and friends.  Drink water throughout the day, especially if you're like me and slug down more than your daily recommended dose of caffeinated coffee.  And write, write, write!!