Hi, I'm a long time lurker and wanted to say I've learnt a lot already from reading the threads. I left my permanent job at Christmas, which was a huge decision for me, and I plan to do supply teaching three days a week while saving the other two days solely for writing. I'd love to know what your writing timetables look like - when you write, how long you write for, and so on - so that I can set myself ambitious but realistic goals. I am so excited to be starting properly, having thought and dreamed about it for so long! Now I have the space in my head, my story keeps going round and round and it's amazing that a previously peripheral character has jostled for the main position!
Hi tuppence, I work full time and write in the evenings. When I'm writing I set myself a minimum word count of 500 words a night as I can procrastinate for Britain! I try and write for a couple of hours each evening. Some writers recommend working on a laptop with no internet connection as it's so easy to be distracted by Facebook, twitter etc. Good luck with your writing. No wonder you're excited!
Thanks linds! You're very dedicated to be able to write after a full day at work - I could never so that due to the amount if marking and paperwork I'd bring home from school, which meant my evenings were completely eaten up. But that's no more! I can get distracted by the internet for research (or Facebook... 😁) but usually I'm quite good when I stick to a schedule. Thanks so much for replying - I've never started a thread before and thought everyone would ignore me!
Hi Tuppence! When I'm writing, I have a daily target of 1000 words a day, every day, no excuses. When I'm editing, I have one issue to fix each day until I'm done.
What sort of book are you writing?
I don't have a set timetable for writing, as my day job uses quite a lot of mental energy. When I do have a period of time to give to it, I try to aim for a thousand words a day, but don't always achieve it. I find I'm most productive late in the evening and into the early hours of the morning - no good if you have to be up in the morning!
I also spend quite a lot of time thinking about plot and character development. That can be done anywhere, anytime. I tend to feel I should actually be sitting down getting words on the page, but time spent thinking is rarely wasted, as long as it doesn't become a procrastination technique.
When your characters start refusing to do what you want them to, that's a sign that your writing is really taking off! Good luck!
Hi outrageous! Your target sounds good to me - I have been able to manage 1000 words when I've done a couple of days here and there: was just unsure whether I was setting my target too high or too low! My book is adult fiction, about a woman whose life has been etched by the history preceding it: yet she knows nothing of the history, so part if it is told through her mother's diary entries over the course of her lifetime. Hope that makes sense! What do you write?
Thank you Harriet! Late night/early morning sounds good - less able to find other jobs to do that won't wake the children at that time!
I'm a professional writer so my targets/writing schedule is probably a little too ambitious for most.
But 1000 words per day will have a working draft ready by end of March. A first edit ready by end of April, a second end of May.
Maurice Bendrix - the novelist protagonist of Graham Greene's The End of the Affair - averaged 500 words a day, working a 5 day week over a 20 year career and producing a novel a year.
The main thing of course is that, no matter how many words you write, they have to be the right words, in the right order.... ahhhh!
That's always been the hardest bit for me.
My advice would always be that for the first draft they don't have to be the right words.
Get the structure right, the characterisation, the plot. The words can come last .
I would agree with that, SheGot. The main thing is to get something down on paper, or onscreen, without worrying too much at that stage about style. It can always be edited later.
Of course, get your ideas down asap - don't run the risk of forgetting them but also don't wear them out through overthinking.
Nobody can tell you anything that isn't already on the internet in one of the millions of lists of 'Rules of Writing' - take what's useful - ignore the rest.
If you write nothing down until it's perfect - you'll never write anything down.
However, if you write everything down, you'll spend a lifetime editing - there's no virtue in editing the 10th or 11th or the 100th draft of anything.
Read a lot of what you like and some of what you don't like - to see how it works.
Write as much as you can and try not to re-read it before you start the next day's writing - you'll just end up writing it all over again.
Thank you everyone for some brilliant advice. I am looking forward to the new year when I'll be able to really focus on what I'm doing!
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