For years I’ve been procrastinating on my writing by pretending that I needed to hone my craft before I could become an effective writer. I now see that this is a rationalization; a false one. So to make it up to myself, I promised that I would kick it into high gear and write six books before I turn 27. That’s a novel every two months.
I am now in the thick of writing my first, and I’m making great progress. Here are four reasons why:
1) Motion & Creativity
I write during my commute to and from my job. Something about having to wait for, and then being trapped on, a train makes my pen move. Also since I’m by myself, it’s nice that no one is looking over my shoulder, asking me what I’m writing.
2) Scrips & Scraps
Normally I’m a slow writer—I torture myself over every word. Why? Because the notebooks I write in have such a pleasing aesthetic to me that I don’t want to sully them with eraser marks, scratchings, Wite-Out.
This time around, I’m writing everything on small pieces of paper; specifically index cards and the back of guest checks. I’ve discovered that if I worry less about the paper I’m writing on, I also worry less about whether each word is good enough to be written—and my plot progresses that much quicker.
3) Everything Goes
Usually I consider every single way a story could go before I make a decision, but with this new program I write the first option I think of. If later I come up with a better idea, I write that too. Since I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo last month, all the words I wrote counted toward the grand total—even if the words didn’t completely sync up with the rest of the plot.
4) Leave it All on the Page
I have a bunch of story ideas zooming around my head. Six, to be exact. In the past, I’d sometimes have an errant thought about another story and write it down to save for later. Not anymore. If I have an idea that I think will go well in a different story, too bad, I’m writing this one. The idea has shown up too early or too late, and I’m using it now instead of saving it for this elusive “later.”
Thus far in the book I’m writing I’ve used at least three ideas I’d been saving for other stories. What’s surprising is that when I stopped idea hoarding, my brain started thinking up new ideas for me to write.
Discussion Question: Has a new process or realization ever revolutionized your writing? What were the results?
Jacqui Bryant’s love for reading, ability to create adventure, and general curiosity for all things unconventional in life may outweigh her ability to write well. But she hopes not. Jacqui holds a BA in a couple of different things from Emerson College and blogs occasionally about how to bring fiction to real life here.