Whew–that was a great NANOWRIMO, wasn’t it? And now you’re all done writing for a while–time to relax and get caught up on Game of Thrones. . .well, not if you plan to make writing more than a once-a-year binge. As with diet and exercise, and pretty much all things you want to stick with and get better at, regular practice with writing will make you a better writer. It will give you more material to offer to a wider variety of readers (whether through traditional publishing, indie publishing, or your personal site). I’ve found that, the more I stay in the zone, the more I want to be there, and the faster I can get back when I have to leave to say. . . go to the day job, feed the pets, or make another PB&J for my next session.
- The easiest thing to do is to maintain a habit. If you’ve been doing NANO, even if you didn’t complete the full 50K, you have established a habit of writing on a regular basis. Keep doing it!!
- Pick a chunk of time that works for you. If you’re not already in the habit, find a space to make it easy. perhaps this is first thing in the morning, when you are fresh. Get up early and give yourself that half hour to write. Commit to it!
- Or. . .pick a word count you know you can meet. 250 words a day. That’s only a page–you can do that, easy! And if you do it every day, you’ll have a book by the end of the year. But some days, you’ll write more. Don’t let yourself slack off.
- Find a partner and agree to keep each other focused. Report in on a regular basis via whatever means works best for you. Also check out the #1K1H challenges on Twitter, where writers around the world look for some online buddies to write a thousand words in an hour. #1K1H at the top of the hour–go!
- Focus on the fun parts. Sometimes you get to a part of the book that frustrates or disappoints you. Instead of letting that be an excuse to go play video games, think about the next part that will excite you. Let that cool scene or thrilling twist be the carrot you’re working toward as you write through the tough sections.
- Stuff happens. You get sick, you lose power, you miss a few days of writing for one reason or another. Don’t let a day or two, or even a week or a month signal the end of your commitment. Even if you feel bad about the time you were *not* writing, the only way to get back to it is to sit down with the empty page. Avoidance doesn’t make it any better. Take a deep breath and get moving. Half an hour. 250 words. You can do this. You know you want to.