Tag Archives: writing a book

One Month Down

Today is March 31 and I have completed the first month out of the 12 I’ve allowed myself to finish the first draft of my novel.

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Progress so far:

  • 61 pages
  • working on chapter 7

Research shows:

  • writing a book is work
  • I have lots to learn as I go

Novel writing tip of the month:

  • Break the rules!!!

I have read so many blogs and articles by other writers and published authors. Everyone has their own advice on how to write a novel. I chose to stick with Maeve Binchy’s advice of writing 10 pages per week. For me this goal is doable and its rewarding because its achievable.

I can’t commit to designating a certain time of day to write and writing for 1-3 hours during that time of day. I’ve found that trying to write every night after dinner, having worked an eight hour day, is just not feasible nor enjoyable. On evenings where I was too exhausted, unmotivated or had a bad day, I skipped it. But I didn’t skip entirely! I would read about other writer’s experiences or their tips, I read part of a novel from a published author, or I wrote a blog entry. I found that by doing this, when I wrote next time, I wrote something that was ok. I didn’t force myself to just write something that would need to be re-written later anyways.

This month has been interesting so far. I’ve learned a lot about how to go about writing the damn thing (ex. characters, plot, dealing with gaps in time, organizing my ideas, etc.) and I’ve learned what works for me.

I can’t say if I’ve written 10 pages every 7 days this month (I could probably see if I went back through my author’s log- blog posts), but I do know that I’ve written 61 pages when my goal was 40 pages for this month.

So hopefully I can keep the momentum going in April.

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Opposite of writer’s block

I don’t know what to call it other than the opposite of writer’s block. I don’t necessarily have a flow of idea, but the storyline if filling out. I think that if I could make the time to dedicate a solid 3-5 hours of writing, that I could make some serious headway. I sat down this evening to write and I had filled four pages in no time.

I have finished chapter 6, which is pretty short and I wrote a few notes of what to cover in chapter 7 and even some notes for chapter 8. This is good. This is good I tell myself. I just need to make the time to write. I am doing well of keeping on track. I’m still making my 10 pages per week.

This is the hard part of having a full-time job and writing in the evenings. But I better not count my chickens too soon because the scary slow period could kick in at any time. For now, I will enjoy the flow while it lasts and will try to write whenever I have a free moment.

If you have a full-time job and are writing on the side, do you write in the early mornings or in the late evenings? How do you make the uninterrupted time to write?

Progress so far:

  • 54 pages
  • Planned out chapter 7, just need to write it now.

Research shows:

I need to find a pen name and I need to find one now! Any potential readers need to have someone they can identify with. They will never remember “An Author’s Log”. Readers need your name so they can easily find your work. I have a pen name that I’ve been mulling over for a few weeks now. I think I’m just to nervous to fully commit to it yet.

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Getting ahead of myself

While working on chapter 4, I found that I wanted to skip ahead and start writing parts of the next chapter. I’m not sure why this happened. I knew good parts were going to be written later so maybe I just wanted to skip right to them and start writing from there. I did it twice.

I wrote a paragraph or two for chapter 5 and then I stopped myself and went back to finish chapter 4. After I finished chapter 4 and was working on chapter 5, I skipped ahead again and wrote the introductory paragraph for chapter 6.

I think I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but when you’re on a role you’re on a role right? Maybe what happened was that I got ideas for the next chapters while I was writing the current chapter. I don’t think this is a bad thing.

Luckily the pages are getting filled. I wrote non-stop for about an hour maybe an hour and a half and it feels like I’ve been working for many hours. I also scrolled back and find that I only wrote a few pages even though it feels like I have written at least 10.

I guess this is what you call being “in the zone.” I tuned everything out and kept going even if there were noises from the street or other things that could be distracting I got a good chunk of writing time in.

Progress so far:

  • 47 pages
  • working on chapter 5

I feel like hitting page 50 will be a milestone. I’m not sure why, but it feels like a good point to be proud of.

When you were writing your first novel, when was your milestone? If you are writing your first novel, what do you think your milestone will be?

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Day 3: Manuscript Style

So yesterday was Day 2 of writing. I wrote 6 pages which brings the total up to 9 pages. I found that keeping the story moving is a ltitle harder than writing the first 3 pages. I have some key points in the story that I want to get writing, but I am forcing myself to work my way there, rather than skipping ahead to the fun part just to come back have have to “fill in” the rest.

I am building up to those moments (at least I think I am). So far the first pages aren’t as exciting as I wanted them to be. BUT I will no re-read them or re-write them yet. For the moment they but do. I need to keep pushing forward.

Novel Tip of the Day:

I call it ¨Novel “Tip of the Day” because I like the way it sounds, I hope it is “novel” (meaning new to you) and it will be related to writing a novel.

My tip for today is to save your draft! I am constantly hitting “Ctrl + S” instead of taking my hands off the keyboard to use the mouse to click on the save button. It keeps the momentum going. Also, I have been emailing the draft to myself at the end of each day. This way if (1) my computer crashes or (2) I loose my USB, I will have a copy and loose nothing.

Research shows:

I also did some research yesterday about what a manuscript should look like. I will summarize the main points I found:

1) In the top left-hand corner of the page you should have: your first and last name, mailing address and email.

2) “A ways down” the page (about 1/4 to 1/2) should be the title (not bolded, not underlined, not italicised, but CAPS if you want).

3) Under the title you can put your real name or your pseudonym (and I plan to create one someday).

4) Recommended font is 12-point (but 11 and 13 is ok), should be Times New Roman or Courier.

5) There should be one-inch margins (which I always make sure there are in every document I write or edit), double-spaced, and here is the key: to really make it look like a manuscript you must not have an extra line between paragraphs but instead you sould indent one inch.

So thats was yesterday. We will see what I get up to today. If anyone has more tips, please share.

Happy writing!

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