Changing Things…

As you ladies and gents might or might not have picked up, I’ve been struggling to write. With my life as it is, I just found it difficult to almost impossible to sit down and focus on what should be going into my stories.

I have to say that I’m relieved to say that this is changing. Not my life. That’s pretty much stuck in hurry-up-and-wait mode until next month at least. However, changing my perspective into being more proactive about my writing career has made a huge difference to my ability to write.

More than that, it’s changing the way I look at a lot of things. Yes, my priorities still largely focus on getting the next book finished. But at the same time, I’m having to do things right now that will bring in enough money for me to publish in the future.

Which means I’m doing a lot of different things. Trying new things. This includes, you know, being more active on social networks. And setting up a WordPress version of this blog. Right now, I don’t think I’ll leave Blogger entirely to go over to WordPress, but a lot of my WordPress blogging friends kept saying that blogger swallows their comments and I just can’t have that.

It means changing the way I’ve been approaching my writing sessions. Usually, I basically sit down and write until a scene is finished. The problems to this method have been twofold.

First: I haven’t been in the right headspace to sit down for two to three hours on end. So I’ve been waiting for that to right itself because I wanted to sit for two or three hours to churn out a chapter.

Second: My scenes have become longer than anticipated. See, with The Vanished Knight and The Heir’s Choice I had a lot of 2k long scenes that I ended up combining in order to create longer chapters. I think my longest chapter is 7k long, but the average is about 4k. Book 3 is different. Maybe it’s because my point-of-view characters are simply closer together so I don’t have to jump between them as much, but at the moment, the average chapter is about 5k long. So now it’s not a matter of writing for two hours and having a finished scene. Actually having a finished planned section would probably take me an entire working day.

Which I don’t have available. Oh, you thought “being a full-time writer” meant having more time to write? Nope. Not yet, anyway.

So lately, I’ve decided to follow Cherie Reich‘s example and setting a time goal for my writing. Instead of setting a word count goal, she decides how much time she wants to devote to writing and then she sets a timer, which she races to write as much as she can.

I’ve adapted her method a little. She did away with her word-count goals. I can’t. I want to finish Book 3 this year. Which means I have to write between 1 and 2 thousand words every day. I have found, though, that timing myself means that I take about 90 minutes to write 1800 words. (So far, I break my writing into 5 and 10 minute sessions which I add up later.)

In other words, timing myself is speeding me up, which is good, because I don’t have enough hours in a day.

How are you doing? Have you tried timing your writing sessions? 

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14 thoughts on “Changing Things…

  1. It sounds like you've made some good workable decisions, Misha. Good for you! As for Blogger versus WordPress – I set up WP, a hosted one with GoDaddy, and I'm never again going to change the template or hosting. The yearly cost is minimal. And yes, Blogger still has its glitches but I'll keep the one I've got there too, with a link for Blogger friends to go to my WP. There are some Bloggers reluctant about WP, but if you keep the comment form SIMPLE, there is really no problem with commenting. IMO you should definitely go there!

  2. I actually write for however long a scene takes like you used to do. I often stop in the middle of a scene because it helps to make me eager to sit back down in the chair. So each session, I finish one scene and start another. Good luck with your new changes.

  3. Writing prompts through Nanowrimo on twitter has shown me that I can write 1000 words in hour if I'm in the right head space. The most I have ever written in an hour myself has been around 3,000 words. But that's leprechaun sighting rare. On average it can be over 500 words per hour but not always hitting a 1000 words. Glad to hear you're finding ways to write again/more. Congrats.

  4. Timed sessions really have taken my writing to new limits. Now I am trying to write more in the time I have and have read a few books lately that I think will help me reach even more words per session (Chris Fox's 5,000 Words Per Hour, Rachel Aaron's 2,000 to 10,000, and Jacqueline Garlick's Tick-Tock Plot). Good luck!

  5. The couple of times I've tried using time as a writing prompt, I didn't enjoy it at all. It takes me a little while to get into the headspace, but once I do, I kinda zone out and the words keep coming – whereas if I'm being timed, all I can think is, 'oh god, I only have ten minutes left and i've only written teeny words!'. I've just started setting myself a 500 word count for the week though, which is something I've never done before either – so it that doesn't work out, maybe I'll try timing myself again instead! Best of luck with your writing!

  6. I always admire how you have a plan! I am considering doing nanowrimo again this year in hopes it will be the gentle push (or shove) to get some writing done that I started back in March (ouch)

  7. I have actually tried timing my writing. Sometimes I promise myself that I'll devote half an hour a day just for fiction writing; I start with that first, because if I wait until later I won't do it.
    WordPress is confusing for me because every time I leave a comment, it links directly back to my e-mail account when I click on my username. That makes me worry that other people can access my e-mail as well, so I just include a fake e-mail address or something like that.

  8. I am so glad to hear that the timer method is working so well for you. I have been wanting to try it since Cherie talked about it on her blog. I definitely have to try this, as it is hard to fit in as much writing as I'd like when I get home from my day job. Best of luck with your goals! 🙂
    ~Jess

  9. I've never tried time writing sessions, but I've heard of a number of successful writers who treat writing as “shifts” they must work. We never know what will help us until we try.

    Love,
    Janie

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