Everyone who reads this blog knows that I believe in writers’ groups. We learn from and lean on each other for encouragement, tips, commiseration. I learned something simple and wonderful at Lighthouse Writers Workshop last Friday during a live interview with freelance writer Scott Carney (http://www.scottcarney.com/). Here’s how I’m using his advice:
- Write a minimum of 500 words Monday–Friday.
- Let my fingers fly on the keyboard without fussing about format. (I know, no longhand!)
- Insert red-letter prompts at the end of each day’s work to get me going the next day.
- Print copies when a natural break occurs. (I use gray paper so there’s no doubt it’s a draft.)
This process has improved my work on the sequel to Accidental Child. I don’t need to wait for the impossible six-month stay at Yaddo to get a first draft. At 500 wds/day, I’ll have at least 300 pages done with fewer false starts and way more fun. The regularity of it keeps me plugged into the story. Come time to shift scenes or POV, I skim through my scene cards to reset the story. (Thank you Ann Lamott for believing in index cards and “shitty first drafts.”)
When I worked as a psyche nurse, the idea of chunking a task or problem into small action steps often kept patients–and me–from feeling overwhelmed by life. Just so with writing. Or laundry, or raising puppies. Remember, 500 words/day will yield about two pages double spaced in 12pt font w/regular margins. It takes, I’m told, 21 days to establish a new habit. I’m a third of the way there. Thank you, Lighthouse and Steve Carney. Life is good.