Writing Exercise: Let’s Do This Part 2

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For three months, I’m focusing on writing exercises to test techniques for producing words so you can find the best one for you. Not every method will work with every person. In fact, my methods change throughout the year. What works during tax season does not work during the summer.

Don’t be afraid to change things up if one of the six techniques stops working. Just return to these posts and other techniques you will collect as you explore your writing abilities and go back to testing them until a new one jumps out at you. Explore and find what is the right one for “you as a writer” for now. And when the time comes around again, the right one for future-you.

For February, we will talk about Dating and Deadlines. Break out your calendars and planners.

Third. Writing Dates. Set up a date for some private time between you and your keyboard. This could be a daily appointment in the morning or afternoon. It could a few days each week. It could be just one day on the weekend. But block out that time like you would do any meeting or date and don’t renege. Who knows, if this goes well, maybe next year you should buy your keyboard a Valentine Day’s card as an anniversary of your first date.

Fourth. Deadlines. Make them and keep them. Book due date – rough draft, etc. Just like you will be doing once you start getting contracts with publishers. Dissemble the project into chunks to meet those dates and deliver the product. If you are familiar with project planning software, break it out so long as you don’t spend as much time playing as you do working.

WRITING EXERCISE: Try one of the two techniques.

(A) Writing Dates – Set up three writing dates, at least one a week and at least two hours long. Prep for them like you would a date – dress perfect for the activity. Light a scented candle or put on mood music. And shut the door.

(B) Deadlines – Set a deadline to happen in the next four weeks. Be it word count, or chapter number, or an anthology you would like to submit to. Meet it.

Evaluate. Did you ENJOY the technique you tried? Did you feel COMMITTED while working on it? Did you PRODUCE a good product? (note – good product is a first draft you can edit later, not a finished product worthy of publication)


My Attempts

Writing Dates – Another fail for me, but I thought it would be great. I am very organized and track everything. But, for me, this scheduled appointment with the keyboard was the one appointment I knew I could break, so I did it. For others, scheduling time with the keyboard every weekend is their only way to get writing done. I know several authors who talk about their love of dating their writing.

Deadlines – Yeah. Deadlines. I try this one ALL THE TIME and really should give it up because my continuing failures just make me angry. For me deadlines are like rules for pirates: guidelines and most of them get erased.