Posts Tagged ‘momentum’


"Okay, just another minute of Twitter, then I'll get back to that novel."

I signed up for the writing-time log experiment for two reasons. I thought it would be fun. And, I thought I’d learn something.

Here’s my log for the past week:

  • Sept. 27  4 hours
  • Sept. 28  3 hours
  • Sept. 29  2 hours
  • Sept. 30  5 hours
  • Oct. 1     5.5 hours
  • Total      19.5 hours

I logged the times I left my writing to do other things for more than five minutes. So, October 1st’s entry looks like this for writing time:

  • 5:00 to 5:20
  • 5:30 to 6:20
  • 6:30 to 6:50
  • 7:30 to 8:15
  • 10:45 to 11:40
  • 12:45 to 2:30

A couple things I learned:

  • Twitteruptions last longer than I thought they did.
  • When I know what I’m writing toward, I stay at the keyboard longer.

The middle of my week I had some very light writing days. I’d lost my way in my story and needed to find it again. I spent more time on Tuesday and Wednesday walking, running, and doing other life chores that I knew had to be done anyway.

I do think you have to put in the time in order to produce the words.

But sometimes backing off and giving the story some space is more productive than pushing forward.

Friday was my longest writing day, but it felt like my shortest because I knew where I was going. I think backing off on Tuesday and Wednesday helped me to see more clearly where I was going.

My word count on Friday: 4200. 

I’m pretty sure that Friday’s words made up at least a third of my word count for the week.

If you want to see more writing log blog entries go to Patti Neilson’s blog. She has a list.

This week I hope to finish this first draft I’ve been plugging away at since mid-May.

What are you working on this week? And, have you ever kept a writing-time log? If so, what did you learn from it?

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In Edward Abbey’s classic, Hayduke Lives, the book opens with a Desert Tortoise being buried under a huge pile of dirt pushed by a giant bull dozer. I thought it was some symbolic statement about the Earth being trashed. That tortoise was history.

I quickly forgot about the tortoise as the story unfolded. But at the end of the book that tortoise crawls out of the dirt and keeps on going.

Obviously, with writing it’s important to keep moving forward. Sometimes it might feel like you are going nowhere fast, like you can’t get your head out of the dirt.

But speed isn’t the point if you’re on this writing journey.

I’m guessing that tortoise stopped and rested in its crawl toward daylight, and maybe it even took a few wrong turns but it made it out of dirt. And then, it kept on going.

This week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I’ll be attending a bunch of free online workshops at WriteOnCon. It’ll be a great way to keep moving forward.

The presentations will be available on the WriteOnCon website afterwards so even if you can’t make any of them at the given times you can still check them out, which is a good deal for me since I live in Alaska and the Conference starts at 2 a.m. my time. Yeah, there’s a good chance I’ll miss the keynote address tomorrow because I’ll be doing this:

What do you do to keep moving forward as a writer? And, when you feel stuck, what do you do to get unstuck? Are you participating in WriteOnCon?

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“Momentum is far more important than inspiration. Inspiration comes from momentum, from revisiting the manuscript every day.” Pam Munoz Ryan.

I heard Pam speak at a conference several years ago. She is a prolific writer who has published close to twenty children’s books and a few adult titles, too. I wrote down her words as I heard them so I’m not sure if I got them exactly right, but they struck me as powerful.

When I was a teacher there were countless times in the classroom when I was inspired by my students’ resilience. The more effort they put into their projects the more I wanted to support them.

When I train to run a marathon, a couple of successful 20 mile training runs inspire me to do what I need to do to be in top shape on race day. Stretch, eat the right foods, keep pushing myself. The inspiration, at least in part, is a result of the momentum I’ve built up.

And what about writing? Sure, you need a spark of an idea to start writing, but where does your inspiration come from and how do you sustain it? What keeps you going and drives you forward whether you’re into your first draft or your fifth or your fifteenth?

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