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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Thirty Minutes a Day...and then Some





It's IWSG Day.  The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh, our brilliant ninja leader. Co-hosts this month: Tyrean Martinson, The Cynical Sailor, Megan Morgan, Rachna Chhabria, and Jennifer Lane.

To read posts from all other members, click here


IWSG question for January: What steps have you taken to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

This could be the shortest IWSG post on record as I answer, nothing new. So as not to waste your valuable, IWSG-perusing time though, I’ll elaborate.

Many moons ago, I read a successful author (Sorry. I can’t remember which one.) who suggested a novel could be completed by writing 500 words a day. Do the math. Even taking weekends off, over the course of a year that’s 130,000 words—far more than enough for a novel. I’ve also read of writers who’ve completed books by writing half-an-hour a day. Another author (This one I remember: Claire Cook.) wrote a novel in the car while waiting for her daughter to finish swim practice. A combination of the three works for me. 

Those who read me regularly know I get up an hour early five days a week to write before work. Factoring in social media distractions and days it takes longer for my brain to click in, that ends up being about a half hour of dedicated writing/editing time. Sometimes, I get more in after work. On the weekend I write as inspiration dictates—for ten minutes or three hours or not at all. Along the way, when time has allowed, I’ve written in the library, in coffee shops and on the beach, as well as on trains, ferries, and planes. I’ve even edited a manuscript during an 18-hour car ride from Massachusetts to Charleston, South Carolina while crammed in the back seat with our daughter’s belongings. Following that kind of schedule since 2011, I’ve completed countless blog posts, a handful of poems, two hide-in-the-drawer novels, a novel I’m currently querying and a fourth that’s in decent shape, though it still needs tweaking. Add in a couple of thousand words on my flash drive that may or may not be another novel. Clearly, other writers have accomplished more than I have in the same amount of time, but at minimum, I’m proof to two theories. Taking Baby Steps and Finding a Way, work.

As for a publishing schedule, well, my aim is to be traditionally published. I have faith in the book I’m currently pitching and I’ll continue querying as I have for the last few months…a letter out for every rejection received. 

In addition, I’ll join the IWSG Twitter Pitch on January 18. I’ve never done anything like that before. Aha. There IS something new for me in 2018. Writing it here makes it a goal.
 
Bonus: If you've made it to the bottom of this post without clicking off in boredom, here's a reward. Check out this article from Writers Digest: 15 Motivational Tips to Help You Achieve Your Writing Resolutions in 2018.

Wishing you happiness and writing success in 2018.

21 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Five hundred words a day would be way over thirty minutes for me.
You're consistent. Keep at it and it will happen.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm struggling to be a consistent writer because of my day writing job, my blog, and other stuff. I like your idea of writing 30 minutes or 500 words a day. I am trying to be more consistent in writing and may try one of these. Happy New Year and good luck with the querying.

Jennifer Lane said...

Ha ha I know many swim parents who spend ENDLESS hours waiting for their children so that would be a great time to write!

Wow, I'm impressed by your dedication to waking up early to write. I also cheer for sending out one letter for every rejection--that's real GRIT!

Happy New Year, Liza.

Jan Morrison said...

Yes! Like you I have several novels in a virtual drawer, one needing tweaking (truth? much more than tweaking but hey) and one out in the world looking for a home. I'm working on a memoir and truly enjoying it. I have about 15 or 20 thousand more words to write before I start wrestling its shaggy self into a coherent piece but I am loving this part - so lovely to not have to fret so much over plot, though I know I still need structure. I'm sending poems out too. I had one published in December which was so encouraging. Do you send your poetry out? You are such a gifted poet.
I just looked out the dining room window and noticed that there are patches of rosy glow on the spruce trunks. Think I'll wander into the living room to see if that lazy sun is completely up over the Mealy Mountains yet.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I'm focusing more on what I can control - the writing - and not as much on what I can't - publishing.

I've never done anything like the Twitter pitch before either. I wish you lots of luck! :)

Nick Wilford said...

That's some impressive work, fitting it in wherever you can. Like you, I get up early in the morning to write, but I need to be better at making use of other situations. Best of luck in the Twitter pitch. It'll be an exciting day!

mshatch said...

I like what Orson Scott Card said about ideas coming from everywhere. I come across them all the time, in the news, on tv, in ads, commercials, music, on the street...everywhere. I never lack for ideas. I do, however, lack focus at times...

Happy New Year Liza :)

Diana Wilder said...

I have a virtual drawer of novels. I'll have to rummage through it! (And I now have a reminder on my iPhone to write daily. It seems to be working...)

Joanne said...

never bored. Keep after that book, and achieve your dream. Meanwhile, if you post your lovely photos, etc. that would be great. And I know I'm here to give you a nudge and words of encouragement. Happy New Year

Pat Garcia said...

Keep at it, dear heart! Keep submitting those queries. I too want to be traditionally published. Sometimes it gets tiring but don't give up. Wishing you all the best in 2018.

Shalom aleichem,
Pat G

Kathy Karch said...

Thanks for the post. I really appreciate your approach to getting the writing in on a regular basis. Actually, your method sounds a lot like the one I'm going to attempt to implement in 2018, which I wrote about over on my blog. I, too, hope to find success in the traditional publishing arena. Most because I'm not interested in the business stuff that comes with self-publishing. That said, you never know where the future takes us. Anyway, happy writing to you, and happy 2018. May it be a good year for you. :)

Rhonda Gilmour said...

I'm a big believer in baby steps. Best of luck with your querying, from another in the query trenches. May 2018 bring you clarity and peace, and lots of writing time!

Cathy said...

I tend to work in spurts. I work hard on the writing for a month or so, and then I work hard on the platform building for three months or so. Eventually, the platform should be set in place and in maintenance mode (although it would still take time to maintain it). I do hope to rekindle the flame under the writing, which is the reason behind all the platforming, I guess.

You are on your way to achieving your dream. Keep at it. Thanks for the WD link.

cleemckenzie said...

I'll look for you on the Twitter Pitch. Good luck and may 2018 be the best writing year for all of us.

Bish Denham said...

I remember reading somewhere that Jack London wrote 500 words a day, religiously... So you're in good company!

Chrys Fey said...

Every little bit counts. :)

Karen Lynn said...

I'm very much a get up and write before work person. The routine seems to help a lot, and the knowledge that I am working toward an achievable goal isn't bad either.

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Liza! I've bookmarked your "reward" for later reading. Good luck with your Twitter pitch goal. It's great to take a step out into the unknown. Wishing you all the best in the coming year!

Connie said...

Finding a way and baby steps seem like good ideas to me, and you've made them work well for you. Thank you for the link. Happy New Year!

Yvonne Osborne said...

Good luck Liza. I too have held out for traditional publishing but need to finish current wip and query again. It goes in waves, the courage to continue!

The Cynical Sailor said...

I'll keep my fingers crossed for your at the Twitter pitch party. HAve a wonderful 2018 :-)