Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Prepping To Write Your Novel

You're getting ready to write your novel.  You're about to sit down at your computer and face the blank screen.  Your pens and pencils are in a row, there's a note pad beside you to jot down little things as they occure to you (or you have a couple of screens open on your computer, one for your serious work and one for notes and jottings; doesn't work  for me that way, but might for you). 

Everything is set, right? 


But wait, you have to check your Email, the telephone rings, a friend stops by, you have a noisy roommate who starts up with the stereo, you need to research on the web and go surfing off on some interesting page.

What you need is a short list of instructions on what to do before you start and I'm just the one to give them to you.   Pretty basic, but tack them on your wall. 

The lucky 7 to get you started writing your novel.

Here goes.

1.    Let your answering machine get your phone messages.  Don't answer it.  Or, better yet, turn the darn thing off during the time you have to write.  Unless you're expecting a call of great importance, what can't wait?

2.    Talk to family members or room mates. Let them know how important this is to you and while you don't expect them to walk on egg shells, you'd appreciate it if they didn't burst into your writing space and if they'd keep it down in the noise department during the time you write. Be nice, be firm.

3.    Presuming you work on your computer as most of us do, log off the internet and don't allow yourself to check email or surf the web until you're done writing. Doing this removes one possible avenue of procrastination. If you must do some research, log on, focus on what you need to know, keeping yourself firmly in hand and immediately log off again.

4.    If possible, try to write at the same time each day.  This creates a good habit and your brain becomes accustomed to the routine and gets into the groove.  If it's not possible you'll adjust and live with it.

5.    If you're like many writers and have a limited time to dedicate to your writing you might think about putting a timer on your desk, setting it, and not thinking about the time until that little beeper or bell sounds. It'll help you unfocus on 'how little time is left!' and focus on the writing before you. This also helps to keep little kids at bay once they understand they can't interrupt you until the timer goes off.

6.    If you're a lone writer, skip this one.  For those of you who have friends who are writers or perhaps belong to a writing group you could consider creating a challenge to keep yourselves writing - like 90 days to write your novel! Then check in with each other to see how you're doing.  You write what you write all by your lonesome (unless you're the collaborative type), but if you're open to the critical eyes of others and can benefit by an outlet where you can reinforce each other, complain and inspire each other, then go this route.

7.     This may be sacrilege to some, but consider watching a whole lot less TV while you're writing your novel. TV isn't a good place to encourage your brain to generate great ideas.  Books are. A writer reads. A lot.

Few of those who set out to write  novel ever actually finish it. Set yourself up for success.  Be one of the few, the bold, the focused, who actually get the novel in your head out onto computer screen and paper. 

Good luck!


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