Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Production Side of your writing business

After much delay, I am finally at what I call the production side of business. In other words . . . writing. That's it.

Seems simple, doesn't it?

If it was, then why have I run into countless people who tell me that they've always wanted to be a writer or that they have an idea for a story and never write it?

When I was in college, I came up with a very simple method for writing your novel. Write one page a day.  How did I come up with this profound nugget of wisdom? Well, I'd be lying if I told you I came up with it all my own. Over the years, this same widsom has come to me in other forms, but the advise always comes down to . . . goals.
While I was writing my first novel (a deer hunting horror story set in the wilds of northern Minnesota) I was having a difficult time figuring out how to finish it. Then, believe it or not, I watched an episode of Oprah (yes, you heard me right) and the guest she had on said something I'll never forget: "At the end of each day, what have you done to further your life, to get closer to your life's dream, other than getting up, going to work, and coming home?" The guest went on to describe the various goals you can set for yourself, starting with the larger life goal and then breaking it down into smaller and smaller pieces. In the end, I set a goal of writing one page a day.
Break this down with me: if your typical novel is, let's say, around 400 pages, writing one page a day will get your to complete the goal of finishing the first draft in 400 days. Just a little over one year.
But here's the beauty of this profound wisdom. Work hard to meeting AND exceeding your daily goal. If I wrote two pages a day, then I'd be done in 200 days, or just a little over half a year. So I set out to write one page a day, with the push to do even more. Did I accomplish this goal each and every day? No. I won't lie to you. With going to classes, studying, training in Tae Kwon Do, working, and other events, there were a few days I didn't make it. But I made up for it the next. My weekly goal of 7 pages grew to 10, then 15, and sometimes 20.
What's the beauty of this writing one page a day goal? For those who have never written before, this is a place to start. But I'll be honest, it's hard work. Writing is just like anything else you want to get good at. You have to do it each and every day.
So, set your goal high, break it down into monthly, weekly, and daily goals, and go conquer your dreams!

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