Writing Every Morning

I'm participating in Nanowrimo this year.  Sort of.

I doing it, but not really doing it.  The Nanowrimo rules state you can do as much prep work as possible up to November 1st, but you can't actually start writing until the first day of the month.  And I'd already written about 60 pages of my next novel, so I can't actually compete.

But I can use the energy of a gazillion people writing novels to boost my own creativity. 

And that is exactly what I'm doing.   I've been clipping along, writing by hand every morning, but my muse warned me I was coming up on the time when I didn't know exactly what happened next in my story.  And I realized that this was a danger zone, a time when my every-morning writing habit might fall apart under the weight of uncertainty.

So I resolved to use Nanowrimo to take me to a new level of seriousness and commitment to this novel.

I committed to writing 2,000 words a day, as I had when I wrote Emma Jean, and  carved out a bit of time on Halloween to get organized for the next push, as in, please God and handsome Muse, (my muse is a hot young male who favors tight jeans and T-shirts that show off his muscles), please help me to figure out where I'm going next.

What became evident immediately as I pawed through the hand-written pages of my notebooks was this:

I didn't know where I was in the story.

And if I didn't know where I was, how could I figure out where I was going?

So my first order of business was to get my hand-written pages onto the computer, 2,000 words at a time.  I had to abandon my hand-writing habit if I was ever going to wrap my brain around the entirety of this novel.

This morning I finished feeding the words in and got to the part where I'm writing new stuff.  I was a bit nervous, because I'd also asked my muse if we could please compose on the computer again.  I'm so, so grateful for the month I sat on a chair in the living room and wrote by hand every morning because it got me going on the novel again.  But it is hard to keep track of story and characters doing it by hand.

Today, the words flowed.  I organized the next few chapters in my mind, and whipped along, typing away.  It actually took me less time to write 2,000 words of original material than it did to feed those hand-written words in.


So here are my two take-aways from this experience that might be helpful to you:

1.  Writing every morning is glorious.  It is the best thing ever.  Period.  After I've written my 2,000 words every day, I feel great.  I'm in love with the world, because I've done the most important thing to me first.  And that makes everything flow better.

2.  It's helpful to stay flexible throughout the process.  I'm learning that the process for every novel is different.  You might write the first one in strict chronological order and then find out that doesn't work for the next one.  Like me, you might start our writing on the computer, switch to writing by hand, and then return to the computer.  The point is, it doesn't matter.  Do what gets the words on the page.  Do what works for you in the moment!

 What about you?  What's your writing process?

 Photo from Everystockphoto.

By the way, if you're truly stalled on your writing and can't make any progress, my favorite thing to do besides writing novels and blog posts is coach writers.  Check out my services page for more information.

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15 Responses to Writing Every Morning

  1. Zan Marie 11/05/2012 at 12:48 #

    I’m doing NaNo, but not doing NaNo, too. We have a Mini-NaNo thread at the Forum and I’m a participant with the daily check-ins and weekend snips and it’s working. In fact, my first two days were only warm up and now I’m on track with a laid out plan and all’s good.

    Good Luck, Charlotte! Write On!

  2. Charlotte Dixon 11/05/2012 at 13:20 #

    I've been checking in on Twitter and I also note my word count in my planner every day.  Glad you're doing it, too, Zan Marie!  Happy writing!

  3. J.D. 11/05/2012 at 16:48 #

    Process is what you do to mean. I’m sure you’re making fine wine.

  4. J.D. 11/05/2012 at 16:48 #

    Maybe my auto-spell is engaged. PROCESS IS WHAT YOU DO TO MEAT!

  5. Charlotte Dixon 11/05/2012 at 16:59 #

    Always into the fine wine, J.D.

  6. Carole Jane Treggett 11/06/2012 at 07:37 #

    I’m so glad you resolved your handwriting/typing dilemma, Charlotte. I’m using a free full-screen text editor program called ‘Text Room’ and I’m loving it as so far as I write every day during my first experience participating in Nanowrimo. I especially love the sound effects emulating a manual typewriter as I put fingers to keyboard. Somehow it seems to subdue the writing anxiety I’ve struggled with a lot and I can enjoy a swift rhythm most days in creative flow rather than the stop/start experience I was having previously. Perhaps it reminds me of the days when I was obsessively tapping away (read:hunt-and-pecking keys)on my beloved little red typewriter I got for Christmas when I was ten :)

    I’ve also set up my laptop on the dining room table and this designated purpose/place to work on my novel each day seems to be pleasing my muse.

    I absolutely love writing every day,working on my own creative projects.I haven’t done so since the late 90s!

  7. Charlotte Dixon 11/06/2012 at 07:49 #

    I had a little red typewriter, too!  The image of it came into my mind as I read your comment.  Lord, I loved that thing.  I'm SO happy that you are enjoying writing every day–I love thinking of you sitting at your dining room table working away!  Yay for Nanowrimo!

  8. Melissa Marsh 11/06/2012 at 10:46 #

    I love to write longhand, but my fingers and wrist can’t do it too well anymore. I still write in my journal longhand as well as letters to my grandmother.

    I know that when I write first thing in the morning, I feel sort of lost and unsure what to do with myself the rest of the day, which is probably why I don’t do it very often. My writing sessions are usually in the evening, after the day job and after all my responsibilities are done for the day. For some reason, I’ve always been that way.

  9. Charlotte Dixon 11/06/2012 at 11:22 #

    I just love how different we all are in our approaches to writing.  I always say, do what works for you!  I'm tired at the end of the day and my brain is full and just not working; hence my morning writing habit.  Thanks for sharing how you do it.

  10. Carole Jane Treggett 11/06/2012 at 14:27 #

    Wow, you had a red typewriter too? How cool is that?!

    I’m so grateful to/for you, Charlotte. Oh, and also so glad I took your ‘Get your novel written now’ class because it really is helping me this November to…well, you can guess the rest :)

  11. Charlotte Dixon 11/06/2012 at 14:40 #

    I know, it's so cool we both had those red typewriters.  I have such a clear image of it in my mind.  And I'm SO happy you were in my novel writing class…

  12. Debbie Maxwell Allen 11/07/2012 at 17:52 #

    Great job, Charlotte! I was writing every day in the month of October, but I’ve fallen off the wagon somewhat here in November. Time to get back in gear.


  13. Charlotte Dixon 11/08/2012 at 07:04 #

    I'm just sitting here at my computer telling myself I could take a day off, so yours is a timely reminder that its easy to get out of the habit, too!

  14. Terri 11/08/2012 at 08:06 #

    Nice job! I considered NaNo this year but, alas, can’t dedicate that much daily time right now. That said, I do write every day and have (barring illness — mine or that of significant others) for 24.5 years. 2,000 words per morning is a solid commitment — one that I’m sure will keep your muse oiled up, as a male, muscled muse should be. I know what it’s like to reach a place of “what now?” in fiction. I’m there with one WIP. Characters fleshed out fairly well so far, a general idea where they’re headed — i.e. the “spine” narrative. But the subplots are throwing me. All the best to you during NaNo!

  15. Charlotte Dixon 11/08/2012 at 08:28 #

    Thanks so much, Terri.  That's an impressive record for writing every day.  It really does make a difference in a writer's life and writers (myself included) resist it so much!  Even writing for 15 minutes will do it.  Thank you for commenting.

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