This is how I do it… Every day I write 1,500 words of my novel. Sometimes this is easy and sometimes it’s not, but I make myself sit there until it gets done, even if I write complete nonsense that I know I am going to take out in the edit.
It was hard for me, and I spent many years not writing because I didn’t want to write what I considered to be crap. I thought that it was a waste of my time to sit there and write a stream of words that didn’t even take my story where I wanted it to go. But the thing that I had to learn is that it is never a waste of time to write. Even in those irrelevant tangents I often discovered something about my story or my characters that made writing the next day easier.
I’m not a published author, so go ahead and take this any way you’d like, but this is my process. My work is sporadic, I know at the beginning of the week what days I will be working, but not before. So, I can’t have the same schedule every day. What I do, is write out on a notecard my schedule for the next day. I don’t always stick to it entirely (I’ve always been horrible at keeping schedules) but I at least keep to my writing times, no excuses.
So here’s an example of what my schedule might look like on a non-work day.
7:30-8:30: Wake up, have breakfast.
9:30am-12:00pm: (Various other activities: Exercise, Video games, twitter, etc.)
1:00pm-9:00pm: (random stuff: Tv shows, drawing, etc.)
And on a workday…
6:00am-6:30am: Wake up, have breakfast.
7:45am-6:00pm: At Work
6:00pm-8:00pm: Shower, have dinner, watch TV
This is the most important step for me: At the beginning of every writing session, I write down my word-count goal on a post-it. If I meet my word count goal, then I don’t write again that day. If I don’t, then I don’t stress about it! I just write again before bed. It’s a fact that I’m more tired when I wake up at 6am than when I wake up at 7:30. So while I go over word count on non-work days in my first session, on workdays I usually need my second writing time.
This works for me because I am a great procrastinator. If I don’t schedule it, then it’s likely I won’t do it.
And if I continue on this path of 1,500 words a day, then I should have my first draft finished in… 39 days! Hold me to that, will ya? 🙂