>How to write a novel: part 5


Writers can sometimes be the worst procrastinators. Why do today what you can do tomorrow, right? But in order the sharpen your writing skills, it’s important to keep writing. It is a craft and you must keep at it in order to hone your skills. It’s important to establish some writing discipline.

Set up a writing schedule. Determine how many hours a day you want to write. Two hours? Three? Four? Also determine what time of day is best for you to write. Do what works best for your schedule. If you have work and/or have family responsibilities, maybe the early morning hours will be right for you. Or perhaps the late evening is the best time to get your creative juices going.

Write every day. Try to write as much as you can. This can be a paragraph or even just a sentence a day. This will keep you in the rhythm of writing. Even if you don’t feel like writing (there’s that old procrastination kicking in), jot down something in your notebook or journal. Usually, when you force yourself to write, the creative juices start kicking in and you become inspired. Never wait for the muse to get you started; you’ll be waiting a long time.

If you’re working on a particular project–a short story or book, for instance–set up a mental note about what you want to have completed by a certain time. You might, for instance, want to write a chapter a day. Or you might want to complete a certain amount of pages within a week. Determine what works best for your pace and try to achieve that goal. Don’t kick yourself, though, if you don’t meet your goals. Just try to do the best you can and keep that project moving.

Keep a calendar. This will give you something to look at directly to see how far you’ve come on your project and how far you need to go. You might also want to schedule your writing hours into your schedule book as well.

Keep a journal. Journal writing is also a great way to develop writing disciplines. Sketch something in your journal at least once a day. Write about your observations, feelings, or whatever strikes your fancy. You can even write your grocery list. Just as long as you write something and you are sticking to a routine.

Join a writing workshop. Workshops are great in that they allow writers to focus on their writing once a week and to complete projects for the following week. They also put you in a community of writers. Writing is such a lonely activity, so being in a community of writers gives you a chance to share ideas, gain inspiration, and create a network of similarly inspired friends.

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