Developing a Writing Practice

Write everyday. That’s what they all say. They are people who write and who I admire. So, if they say to write everyday, I trust it to be good advice.

This summer I began keeping a writer’s notebook. I didn’t struggle with the daily writing part, so much as the diary-ishness of what I was writing. I wasn’t getting writing done, because I was just venting and not reflecting. When I figured that out, my writing changed. I still vent, but then I try to follow through with processing the feelings a little. Sure enough, I usually walk away with a new seedling of an idea, or a possible theme to explore more.

When school started back in the fall, I quickly fell out of practice. I spent many weekends staring at my notebook, stacks of projects to be graded, and my couch. The couch and a YA book usually won the battle. Luckily, in November I found my way back to daily writing thanks to a group of dedicated friends. We met every Sunday and shared our ideas and writing progress. The talk around the process was vital for me. Being held accountable for getting things done, was necessary for me. That’s how I work.

After learning this about myself as I writer, I now set monthly goals for my writing. They often include dates to get storyboarding or character sketches done. Sometimes I meet the deadlines, other times I let them slide a little,   my writing is for fun. If (when?!) I start having deadlines handed down by the publishing powers that be, I know I’ll meet them, because that’s how I roll.

So I decided to tackle nanowrimo this year and try a novel in a month. The structure and the deadline is perfect for my work style. But in typical overachiever style, I didn’t want to wait until November. I was pleased to find Camp Nanowrimo. In both June and August, the nanowrimo people put on summer novel in a month projects. Yay!

But, again, why wait? Since I’ve never done a novel in a month, or even written thousands of words everyday. So I’m starting my own personal nanowrimo project for the month of May. I’m planning to write everyday and keep track of word count, but mostly, I’m trying to build my writing stamina and focus. I want to be able to sit down and write and write and write when I have a brainstorm, rather than start and stop like I do now. I want to write as a brain dump and then work to revise and redraft after putting ideas on paper.

So, happy writing to me on day one of Amanowrimo!

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