Did you know that November is National Novel Writing Month?
Even if you didn’t, you might have spotted the hashtag #NaNoWriMo on your social media feed, probably accompanied by a string of expletives or appeals for coffee, wine or drugs. Maybe all three, because if you’re using #NaNoWriMo, you’ve signed up to write an eye-watering 50,000 words of a novel in just one month. Not even in a 31-day month.
#NaNoWriMo or no, working on a piece of writing is hard even when you’re getting paid to do it. When you’re not (though to be completely honest, even when you are!), all kinds of distractions will spring up to block the way.
You’ve might have been saying for ages that you want to write a book – we’ve all apparently got one of those in us, after all! – but by the time it gets to the evening, you’re shattered. You know blogging is the ideal way to let people know about your thriving business or your fascinating life, but every time you go to write a post your mind draws a blank.
If you’re looking for ways to beat the block and get writing, you could always sign up to National Novel Writing Month yourself. Or you could start a bit smaller and surer, by tackling the following tasks:
Know what you want to write about
Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people I speak to who want to write a book or a blog, they’re just not really sure what it’ll be about.
So start with that. You don’t have to go into any great detail at this point – some of the world’s greatest novels were formed from a simple idea – but you do at least need to understand your simple idea. Preferably, it’ll be one that fires you up whenever you think about it.
Commit some time
You probably knew this was coming. But committing time isn’t going to be as daunting as it sounds, because you’re going to decide exactly when you do it.
The only rules are that you need to be specific, and you need to be regular. If you decide you’re going to commit to half an hour a day for example, try to make sure it’s at the same time each day, and when you know you’ll usually be free. It’s also important to be honest with yourself: leave out weekends if you think you won’t stick to them. Do your best during the week, instead.
(Half an hour a day may not sound like very much time, but if you stick to that half hour a day, you’ll soon be amazed at how much you manage to get done).
Use your time well
Before you begin your half hour, know what you want to have done by the end of it. Sitting down with a blank screen and no plan is the surest way to give up in despair before you’ve even started.
This doesn’t mean you have to create a complicated schedule. Your first session, for example, could simply be scribbling down absolutely everything you know about your book or blog idea, no holds barred. Your second session could be shaping that content into clear sections. Your third might be coming up with a catchy title. And so on.
(Hint: don’t worry if everything you write at first is just a bit…well, rubbish. That’s what second and third drafts are for!)
Work towards a deadline
Setting a final deadline (a rough draft of your book by the end of January, for example) will give you a clear target to work towards, as well as focusing your efforts.
To keep track and show how far you’ve come, simply create a simple tally chart to mark every time you complete a writing session. By the time you reach your deadline, you should have a finished piece of work and a bursting tally chart to bring home the time and effort you put into creating your masterpiece. It’s a great feeling when that happens!
Still stuck for time, but still need to publish something? I can write that masterpiece for you in your own style, and better still, there’s time to get it done before Christmas if it’s needed. Simply call or email me to get started.
I'm a friendly and professional writer, reviewer and editor who works with warmth, humour and flexibility.
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