Tricks to Keep You Writing (#1)

The writing rotation has been semi-successful.  I got a little behind and in attempting to get caught up I got caught up… in one of the novels.  I told myself that if I did 1500 words on Sanguine I could take a break and watch a Harry Potter movie.

I never did get to see the movie – I hit my word count goal and kept writing. And I dove back into it the next day.  And the next.

And the result is that the first draft of Sanguine should be finished today and hopefully in the hands of beta readers by mid-January. (It better be finished today – my Gargoyles DVDs arrive tomorrow.)

The other result is that the other two books are falling further and further behind, but that’s all right.  Once Sanguine is finished I’ll work on them – adding 500 words to each of them every day, unless one of them catches me like Sanguine did.

(And I hope one does.  It’s been an awesome few days of writing.)

Along the way, though, I’ve learned a few tricks to keep you going when you’re slogging through and feeling stuck.  (I put the “#1” in the title because I may come across some others to share later on.)

One of them is to divide it up into small chunks.  I’ve been working with 250 word increments because a goal of “write 3000 words today” seems a lot more intimidating than writing 250 words.  So I set up another Word doc (no, we will not discuss how many of them I currently have open!) and called it “word count updater.”  Then, in a small notebook that is next to my computer I wrote:

250
500
750
1000

As I hit each goal in “word count updater” I cross it off.

When I get 1000 new words written I copy it from “word count updater” and paste it into the novel’s file and start over with the 250, 500,750, 1000.  Somehow this seems to go a lot faster than sitting down to write 1000 words – I turned out 4000 words on Saturday without even trying.

The other tip is one that I wish I’d figured out years ago.

I get pretty caught up in what I’m writing, and an intensely emotional scene will make me cry.  This results in not being able to see the screen, going through a whole lot of tissues, and ends in one horrible headache.

Well, on Saturday, I stumbled across a way to help work through that.

Robert Emmett posted a paragraph about a writer calling in sick (by emailing his editor) because he had a sore finger.  I couldn’t resist replying… And the thing took off.   I giggled and snickered and laughed outright through the entire exchange, and in between I wrote heavily emotional stuff and cried.

To read the goofiness, check out the post on Robert’s blog.

Now, I can’t always guarantee that someone is going to come along and save me in the midst of heavy emotional scenes, so I’ve bookmarked something that makes me giggle every time, and from now on I won’t have to face those scenes alone.  I’ll go into them with my trusty Invisible Cow at my side.

(There’s a goat there now, too, but I like the cow better.)

So, there you have it – the latest installment in my search for the perfect writing system.  I hope one or the other is helpful to you, and if you have any other tips or tricks, please share them.

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