You have to write – no matter what you are trying to accomplish with your writing career or what your niche. Writing is the only required element for being a successful writer.
I began pursing writing full-time several years back. I started out writing content for other websites, found my way into a local paper, and then began creating original material for blogs, articles and books – and that is when I found my niche.
I still struggled. Not only did I struggle in my special niche, but I struggled with all of my other objectives. If I focused on the kids and their school work, I was too tired to write when I finally made the time. If I focused on the writing, I left the house to its own devices. If I tried to write at a particular time during the day, that was the exact moment someone would need me for something else.
NOTHING WORKED – at least nothing worked for more than a few days or few weeks at the most.
I started #Nanowrimo this year with great intentions – don’t we all. I crafter twice as many words as I needed in the first day. It went downhill fast from there. The reasons behind my downfall were legitimate. I had other obligations and necessities that took the bulk of my time.
I was staring down the midway mark and had nothing more to show for it than the first few days had provided. The Nano Word Warriors group on Facebook threw down the gauntlet for me. “Anyone up for a word war?” I needed that challenge to get back on track.
I wrote that way for half the day. At the top of the hour I would write like crazy. At the half way point, I would take a break until the next top of the hour. The others joined me, and we were all eking out about 400 words per go. That was when someone suggested shorter sprints. They started going for 15 minutes and then breaking for 15 minutes.
I liked starting at the top of the hour, so I adjusted my own schedule to a 20/40 split. I sprinted words for 20 minutes and then invested 40 minutes with the kids, the house, and the other obligations.
The next morning, I followed the same pattern. By the end of the day I had over 5000 words completed. I had also managed to create some images for my website, worked on my website, completed four loads of laundry, and fed the kids (like real food that I had cooked and everything).
I found my sweet spot – or so I hoped.
I continued the process of this 20/40 split. The biggest challenge was getting the family to follow the process. Because the sprint always starts at the top of the hour, they know that anything they need me to do has to happen before or after that 20 minutes. “For those 20 minutes, Mom is in the office,” I declared.
The most important lesson I have learned is that it has to work for YOU if it is going to work for you. I tried following the advice of the experts and writing at a certain time. I tried writing a certain amount of words. I so many different writing models that I was often left frustrated over my lack of accomplishment.
Taking a little piece of one (the 10 minute novelist) and a little piece of another (Nano Word Warriors word wars) and adding my own little flavor (20/40) allowed me to create a writing schedule that works for me – and fits snuggly into my crazy, home schooling, free-lance writer life.
Now it is your turn – do you have a magical way of writing? What have your tried and discarded? Some things I do, may not work for you. Some things I tried but did not use. Those may be the perfect tool to add to your toolbox.
Share your ideas. Share your thoughts. Together we will unlock the secrets to our own successful writing path.
Mystery Rock launched on November 22, 2014. Contact Kathryn for interviews or guest blogs regarding Mystery Rock, tourism literature, family projects, and letterboxing at KathrynLang@KathrynLang.com