Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Friday, October 8, 2010

What I Need To Succeed

I mentioned earlier in the week that I've been doing Tristi's Writing Challenges this year. She holds them quarterly. You choose your own goal and then report on your progress throughout the month. I decided to really stretch myself this month, and set for my challenge:

Finish writing "Renegade."

It's a novella. I started it in August, but hadn't gotten very far. (I took some time off to revise my novel.) So, this is going to be quite a stretch for me. I figure, if it turns out about the same length as my other novellas, I will need to write 100 pages or more by the end of the month, or approximately four pages per day . Now for me, that is a lot of writing. More than I think I've ever written in a month. But I wanted to try and stretch myself.

A week into the challenge, I am happy to report that it is going well. I have hit four pages on all but two days. Yeah! I'm very pleased. I hope I can keep up the momentum. I have noticed some things I need to help me meet this challenge of mine.

Time: Duh. I guess that goes without saying. But I am finding that I don't actually need to make more time to write. I just need to take better advantage of the time that I already have to write. I find I can get the most done from 10-11:30 in the morning and from 10-11:30 in the evening. Also sometimes in the afternoon too. To make the best use of time, I need:

Sleep: I am finding that a good night's sleep gives me better results than staying up late to write a little more.

Planning: I have to know where the story is going. I used to think I was a pantser. That I didn't want or need an outline. I have realized lately, though, that I'm just a lazy plotter. I have to know what scenes to write and more or less how they turn out before I sit down to write. Yes, I still surprise myself sometimes with what the characters do or say, but in order to write so fast (for me), I really need a clear picture in my head. And it is in my head. I don't actually write an outline. I daydream a lot. This week has been a great exercise in deciding more quickly how the scenes should play out.

Support: My husband agreed to help me meet the challenge by encouraging me and not complaining if I put writing ahead of other things. I also appreciate the support I get from being accountable on Tristi's blog. I've been tweeting and facebooking about it too. Cheerleaders are great!

Serenity: I can't write well if I'm not on an even keel, so I've been taking the time to nurture my emotional health every day, too.

Sunflower Seeds: Lots and lots of sunflower seeds. My writing snack of choice.

I know a lot of you do NaNoWriMo. What kind of things do you find you need to help you meet a real writing challenge?


logankstewart said...

Nothing like a good bag of salted sunflower seeds, still in the shell. Mmmmm. Now you've got me wanting some.

Good luck!

L.T. Elliot said...

I've just realized that one about planning, myself. I write SO much faster when I have a better idea of what needs to be accomplished in each of my writing sessions. =] Good luck, Angie! Good job so far!

dellgirl said...

I like the post, you've done a great job outlining your goal and what needs to be done to achieve it. Good luck from dellgirl.

I’m dropping by to say hello, hope you had a marvelous week.

Have a good weekend!!

Carolyn V. said...

I need sleep and silence. I write much better with both of those. =)

L'Aussie said...

I need to dedicate myself to my writing, which is no easy task with so many other bright baubly things to see and do. To prepare for NaNo I try to have an idea of a story and a rough outline.

I like the sound of these challenges you're doing. Must check them out..:)

AstonWest said...

Just need time to myself...and maybe some music to drown everything else out. Haven't been able to get much of either lately, though. :-\

Angie said...

Thanks, Dellgirl. Hope you have a great weekend too.

I know what you mean, L'Aussie. So many distractions!

Todd, I hope you find plenty of time and music soon!

Aubrie said...

Time is the big thing for me. I need blocks of time. It's hard to start and stop start and stop with little increments. Then I never really get into the groove.

Good luck with your writing challenge!

Queen 'Bina said...

It sounds like you've got some great practices going already: an end goal in mind, broken down into smaller milestones, lots of support, accountability and a deadline!

I've "won" NaNoWriMo 3 out of 4 years. I've found the key to this break-neck pace of writing is to turn your inner editor off, especially if you don't have an outline to go by. If you do have an idea of where your story is going, skipping around a little and writing the parts you're excited about when you get in a funk can keep you from losing your momentum.

I love Tristi's challenegs. They're a great motivation to me when I've been a lazy writer. Good luck on reaching The End.

Theresa Milstein said...

Good for you for making so much progress so far! I hope it continues to go well. I'm glad you have support... and sunflower seeds.

I've never done NaNoWriMo. Usually when an idea hits me, I'm very productive. But that hasn't happened lately so I've been doing an Operation Awesome 1k per day challenge. So far, so good.

Mary Campbell said...

Congrats on meeting your goal and awesome tips. I need to follow most if not all of these - even the sunflower seeds.