When I first started writing that ill-fated first novella, I just sat down and wrote. There was no intentionality. I wrote when I felt like it, and because it was such a new and enjoyable experience, it wasn’t difficult at all to maintain momentum and finish it.
For close to a year and a half, I wrote this way, sitting down when I could find the time and when I felt like it. The result was it often took me three to four months to finish a story, which at the time, I was perfectly happy with. Then two things happened in conjunction that forced me from this mindset: a decision to get serious about writing and a baby. When I finally made that leap to follow after a life-long dream, a different dream materialized in the form of a child. And any parent out there can sympathize with the sudden lack of time.
My response was to institute a writing schedule. I never have been and never will be a morning person. It’s just not how I’m wired. But I am at my most creative when I first wake up, rested and ready to work. So, the only solution was to wake up before the rest of the house (approximately 4:45am) and get some writing done for an hour or two. I have been doing this for about year and every morning is still a struggle to get out of bed. I can get into a rhythm, but sickness, travel to different time zones, various life idiosyncrasies all kick me out of it and it’s like starting all over again.
But since developing this discipline, my production has doubled, and my story development time shortened to weeks instead of months. I likened it to going to the gym. Some days you’re super motivated and it’s easy to get in and get a nice workout in. Other days, you have to drag yourself in and it’s a slog. But both days you make progress, make a step closer to a goal. It’s the same way with writing. Some days it’s inspiring and words flow faster than you can type, others it’s a slog. But at the end of the day, the reader can’t tell which sessions were which in the finished product.
One of the best things a writer can do when they become serious about their craft is set a writing routine and stick to it. You’ll be amazed at the end of the year how much it’s helped.