The biggest hurdle that you face as an author isn’t ensuring that your dialog isn’t flaky. It isn’t pacing, character development, or story beats. There’s one thing that needs to happen before your country cottage, intergalactic space station, or floating castle can take shape: You must put words on the page.
Make your writing a priority
This may be news to you, and maybe I’m preaching to myself here, but there are a lot of days that I don’t feel like writing. I work an 8 to 5 day job managing IT (computers) for several companies. I come home and get to hang out with my best friend (my wife) and my three kids. I serve in a couple areas at my church, and when the day winds down I gravitate towards shutting off the world and playing video games. Most nights, choosing to put words on the page isn’t my top priority.
Now you may be like me, and you struggle being consistent with your writing time. I tend to be a burst writer. Writing Sprints really helps me to crack out a word count when I take the time at my desk. Maybe you’ve found your happy place and you spend the day dreaming about your keyboard. I’m not there, yet. There’s one thing that I do have going for me: I know that once I start, the gift begins to flow, and writing brings out another piece of who I am as a person and a child of God.
I am a Writer.
I recently took a class with writing coach RJ Thesman on several different types of writing plans, and I’d like to detail a couple for you, and tell you which one I’ve been finding fits my writing style.
I like the idea of this plan, but you have to really utilize the accountability required. The strength of this plan is that you commit to submitting something you’ve written every Wednesday. You write everyday, and send in a devotion, a flash fiction, a blog post, SOMETHING, every week on Wednesday. Find a medium like dailysciencefiction or flashfictiononline and check out their submission guidelines and upcoming themes. As you continue to submit to these websites, the idea is that the more words you write, you will improve your voice as an author and become a better writer. Maybe you’ll even land your story in a magazine.
Punch the Clock
As a fifteen year old adolescent, I quickly learned the value of having (and holding) a job. By working every day after school from 4:00 until 7:00. I would get a paycheck every two weeks and in turn be rewarded with the means to eat food, buy video games, and go to the movies with my friends. With the Punch the Clock plan, you set a specific time that you can block out the world and get to your writing. Maybe you work best in the early morning and set aside 5:00 to 6:00 am every day to be a writer. To me, that sounds terrible because I tend to write between 8:00 and 10:00pm. Here’s the trick to this plan: Don’t be late, and don’t skip out early. If you choose this writing plan, treat this time and important, like a real job with a boss who will fire you if you skip a shift. Thankfully, this boss also lets you wear pajamas and drink coffee while on the clock.
Words Every Day
This writing plan is fairly simple and is great when you have consistent time to work on a project. Sit down for thirty minutes a few days in a row and see what your average word count is. Maybe you can spit out 300 words in that time, but you want to push yourself. Set a goal of 500 words – That’s less than a full page in Word. If you do this consistently for a full year, you’ll end up with over 180,000 words – That’s a full book! This is a great way to snowball a project when you only have a little bit of time to write.
Butt in Chair
My favorite plan is the Butt in Chair plan. You could also call the Just Do It plan – Put on your big boy underpants. Put your butt in your writing chair. Put words on the page. This tends to be how I write, and while it honestly doesn’t lend me to being consistent, it definitely doesn’t hold back from being in your face about “Are you a writer or not?!?!” THEN DO IT!
I’m not good with deadlines. I don’t naturally set goals, nor do I get excited about setting up calendar invites and sticking to a schedule, but the truth of this issue lies in who am I called to be? Are the stories in my head going to bring truth and glory to God, or will they fester away in my heart and never see the written page. Setting up a writing plan can only help me discipline my craft. I know I have time to be a writer even in my busy life. I’m going to set a time and treat my writing with the same importance that I treat my day job. I’m going to send in stories, be published in magazines, and continue to knock out my bigger projects. I’m going to get a nice chair for my butt. It’s important to be comfortable, right? Now, put the coffee on, punch in, and get to writing!
Do you have a specific time every day/week/month that you have set aside to write? What writing plan do you use to put words on the page? Do you work best with an organized plan, or do you thrive in chaos and loose deadlines? I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a comment below, or find me on Facebook.
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