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does anyone write daily - or do something towards it?

(18 Posts)
Lorelei76 Sun 10-Jul-16 16:40:02

hi there
here's my situation - I've been working on a novel for ages except in reality I've only spent annual leave time on it, and only that when I've been completely free, not away or visiting friends or rellies.

I did try writing when I got home from work and didn't produce much quality tbh. I find that those big bouts do produce work that can be used. However, at some point I have to accept those time limitations and find a way to use an hour or so daily. i can't use my commute because I'm often squashed or hanging from a strap. I also find I can't work without my papers around me anyway.

so I am wondering what habits others have.

I did 4 hours yesterday and realised that I could be done by this summer if I pull my finger out. I'm at work till Wednesday, then away for a few days with family. I'm thinking after a good relaxing few days away, I should be ready to come back and fit something in on my week days.

really I should plough through the hard stuff at weekends and tidy up or edit on weekdays but until I have a complete first draft I feel quite unsure of how to handle that. i don't want to spend time tweaking stuff that might ultimately not be used.

sorry to waffle, just wondered how others plan their work. I do find the odd burst very productive but then if I am away from it for too long, I forget stuff - which sounds awful doesn't it? - but yes, I literally forget things and take a while to get back in the flow.

Cel982 Mon 11-Jul-16 09:11:02

I used to write like this, in short high-quality bursts - and never got anything finished. I think you have to develop the habit of writing every day in order to get anywhere with a longer work. For me, the breakthrough came when I decided that I'd stop worrying too much about the quality of the writing, and just get the story down on paper. A first draft doesn't have to be perfect, or even good - it just has to exist so it can then be improved and polished. I find that stage really enjoyable after the hard slog of getting the first draft written.

At the moment I'm home with a toddler who doesn't nap any more, so the only time I get to write is in the evenings. But I try to do even half an hour every day, and it does build up quickly.

Lorelei76 Mon 11-Jul-16 19:27:42

Thanks Cel
Do you have planned tasks?
I have a feeling this will be easier when I get the first draft done. I can imagine doing some editing in thirty min blocks.

GetAHaircutCarl Mon 11-Jul-16 23:03:43

My top tip for every writer with other responsibilities/calls on their time is to get into the habit of writing in the cracks if the day.

If you can make this your MO, you will find the work gets done.

I also spend a lot if time drafting in my head. Far more time than I actually spend in front of my lap top typing IYSWIM.

Kai1977 Mon 11-Jul-16 23:18:45


The following rules worked for me, they may not work for everyone

1) Working a tiny bit every day rather than bursts here and then seems to work better because you find yourself thinking about the work even when you're not actually sitting down and writing. When there are gaps, it's hard to get back into the world of the story.

2) The most freeing thing is to tell yourself it's just a sh*tty first draft and writing whatever you can is better than nothing - you can't edit a blank page as they say

3) Waiting for exactly the right moment to write will rarely come, teaching yourself to just write whenever you can, whether it's with one finger on a smartphone on a commute or sat under the covers when everyone else is asleep will stand you in good stead

4) Get it out of the way early in the day if you can and then you don't have it hanging over you (or you can spend the day thinking about your writing) but bear in mind that you might not be a morning writer

I sat this all from (sometimes bitter) experience. Try different approaches and see what works, there's no right way, just your way. Good luck!

Lorelei76 Tue 12-Jul-16 03:15:20

I'm so impressed with people drafting in their heads!

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Tue 12-Jul-16 03:18:59

I wrote the first draft of my novel longhand an hour a day, first thing in the morning. DS gets up at 730, so I got up at 630 most weekday mornings and just wrote. I'll admit typing it up was a pita, but I know I couldn't have got it down any other way.

Lorelei76 Tue 12-Jul-16 03:29:52

I've just switched from typing to longhand. I figure the typing will be part of the edit. Plus I spend enough time staring at a computer for work. And MN lol.

AristotlesTrousers Tue 12-Jul-16 06:44:35

I used to do 'morning pages', but no longer have time. I probably only get three or four decent writing sessions a week.

Lorelei76 Wed 13-Jul-16 15:21:44

Thanks Aristotle
Actually that made me think - perhaps I should bung in 4 timetabled sessions and adjust to using spare half hours when the whole thing is there to edit.

Cheers all

SpiderAndMouse Thu 14-Jul-16 15:23:59

I 'gifted' myself 100 days to work on my novel. I'm actually on day 100 today, and I've done just under 50,000 words in that time.

It's worked really well. Writing little and often has kept up momentum, and although it needs a fair bit of editing I'm just pleased I've got it 'done'.

I write in the evenings (when working) and during naps (when looking after DS), and then take my laptop to work every day I'm in the office so I can edit on my lunch break. It's been hard work, but effective.

I'd also recommend keeping a tally of your word count - mine is set up as a spreadsheet with columns for Date/(Cumulative)Target/(Cumulative)Actual/Written Today. It's really motivating to watch it increase - especially when the 'actual' is far higher than what you targeted.

Lorelei76 Thu 14-Jul-16 20:02:46

Spider, you write when you're working? I don't think my boss would let me get away with that grin

SpiderAndMouse Thu 14-Jul-16 20:50:26

Haha! I just read that back... blush

I write in the evenings after work. Although I do sometimes scribble down an idea on a post-it note, should one pop into my head. Happens rarely though.

AristotlesTrousers Fri 15-Jul-16 06:32:40

Just realised what I said might sound like I get a lot more writing time than I actually do. When I say 'good' session, I mean getting a good hour or two, which is either in the evening after the kids have gone to bed and everything else is done (or at least all the urgent stuff), or a decent nap time, which may or may not happen.

I'm a SAHM, but also a part-time post-grad student. My writing suffers, but I'll never give it up. I rarely get more than 4/5 writing hours a week, and that would be a good week; sometimes it's more like 2/3 - which is fine for editing/subbing, but not so great for writing a new first draft - it's going very, very slowly! grin

schmalex Sat 30-Jul-16 06:45:33

Have you ever tried nanowrimo? It's a challenge to write 50,000 words in a month. It happens every November.
I did it for the first time last year and amazed myself by how quickly I could write if I put my mind to it. I used a piece of software called Write or Die and did three sprints of 20 mins a day. I found I could easily do 500 words in 20 mins, especially if my plot was already planned out. The trick is not to go back and twiddle, just write on!

Trenzalor Sat 30-Jul-16 07:42:27

I write almost every day, mostly after my daughter has gone to bed. I see it as my evening job. I write quickly and try not to judge what I'm writing, it can always be changed later. That way I can write a novel in anything between 3 and 8 weeks.

SpiderAndMouse Sat 30-Jul-16 11:25:15

3-8 weeks Trenzalor?! That's incredible!!

Diamonddealeroncemore Wed 24-Aug-16 06:56:49

I've recently become a sahm and I now write every week day morning, usually longhand and I make myself do 2000 words minimum. I've just completed my first novel of 91,000 words and it's had one edit so I'm sending it to a beta reader. I really had to just keep on keeping on even when I was sure what I was writing was rubbish (it might well be!)

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