Friday, May 28, 2010

Marathon training starts with 250 words

For the past few days, I've managed to write 250 words or a bit more each day (sadly today breaks that cycle, but I'll have time tomorrow to make up for it).  This may not seem like much to many writers out there, but for me it's HUGE.  Why?  It shows that I'm writing on a regular basis.

Before starting my current novel, I was one of those writers (heck, you could hardly call me a writer then) who wrote on a very irregular basis.  I'd get a very vivid image of a scene or a character and instantly write it down; this was going to be my greatest story, the one that would get me places!  I'd write for a bit only to loose steam and leave the project on my hard drive to await the day when I'd discover it and turn it into the novel of the century.

I've recently come to realize that this approach to writing was only getting me closer to a little town called Nowhere - population 1.  Now that I have a story I actually want to slave over (will get into my insecurities over it in another post), I've come to realize that what I really need to develop as a writer is endurance.  Yeah, being a sprinter is exciting and exhilarating (hence why I write for #fridayflash and participate in NaNo) but it doesn't work very well if you want to write the equivalent of a marathon.  Marathons are not usually run on flat roads; they are set along roads full of obstacles like Beacon Hill and the pot holes on Rout 9.*  The only way to get over these obstacles without turning an ankle is to know how to keep running no matter what.

I see my 250 words each day as my proverbial marathon training.  I may not be feeling the story every day, but if I show up to the page and get in my 250 words, it makes the next 250 words that much easier to write.  After writing 250 words a day minimum for awhile, I'll start writing 500 words a day.  Then I'll push myself to 1000 words a day.  By next November, I'll be able to write 1667 a day (the NaNoWriMo gold standard) without breaking a sweat. 

Well, that's 385 words.  I'm gonna keep showing up everyday to my stories and just write.  Whether or not the words flow or grind against one another, I'll be there.  What about you?  How do approach your writing routine?  

Informally yours,

*Yes, this is a Boston Marathon reference.  I'm a Boston nerd.


Angela M. said...

I am completely inconsistent with my writing schedule, especially now that I'm in revision with my first novel-length ms. I tend to spend more time revising and pretty much no time lately with writing new material, but I'm going to work on changing that soon. When I do work on new material, I tend to write fast, somewhere between 500-3000 words per day. I make up for this speed with frequent dry spells which last a week or two, darn it :)

I think it's awesome you're able to get yourself into the habit of writing daily. I need to give it a try, but I distract myself with constant blogging or social networking (though I still haven't gotten into Twitter yet). Yay for NaNoWriMo! I'm giving it a try this year.

Lena S. said...

Thanks, Angela, for adding your two cents to this post! I think a sporatic writing schedule works when your revising another piece. I'm currently writing my second draft of my wip where I am making some major changes. My 250 words is my small way of preventing me from giving up! Good luck to you!