Word Count: 581
Time Spent: 30 min x 2 (focused), 1 hr 30 min (w/ distractions)
I have some bad habits when it comes to writing. The biggest of which is not giving myself enough time to get in the flow of things. On the flip side, I often forefit writing altogether if I miss my dedicated writing time, thinking that the microbursts I have throughout my day aren’t enough to accomplish anything significant.
Today I realized both points of view are true.
Isn’t it worth doing something each day, even if it’s only for a few minutes? I did manage to add a few hundred words to my novel, despite all the start and stop due to distractions and time constraints. I am proud of that. But I quickly realized today that if I want to complete this novel within a foreseeable goal, I need to carve out enough time to churn out thousands, not hundreds, of words per day.
The writing process is messy. Imperfect. It’s a lot of back and forth. The Doctor would describe it as wibbily wobbily timey wimey and he would be right. At any given moment, as an author you are juggling knowledge of a character’s past, present, and future, all while trying to paint a vivid picture of a word that has its own history and quirks.
A perfect example– while writing my first scene, I had to describe the clutter sprawled across my protagonist’s floor. I quickly saw this as an opportunity to color in his lines, to fill in details I hadn’t yet fleshed out. What would he keep lying around? I knew some of his interests but not all. So, besides the quintessential dirty clothes that a young man of his lifestyle would have, I included comics, shedding light on what his possible world view might be like; how he sees good and evil. I also added elements of my own life in the form of back issues of National Geographic magazines.
When I was a kid, my grandmother got me a subscription, and every month I would get a new magazine, flip through it, and put it aside with the intent of going back and reading them later in more detail. After a while I amassed quite the collection. It wasn’t until a decade after my grandmother passed that I realized I had been holding on to not just unfinished stories that piqued my curiosity, but the memories of a bond she and I shared. It took some time before I could even bring myself to consider throwing them out. And to be honest, I can’t remember if I did (the dark side of having an attic).
So now, Cin is a National Geographic magazine hoarder. What’s his motivation behind it? I can’t fully tell. But I believe it fits in well with the traits and histoy I’ve established for him.
It’s amazing how you can plan so much and still discover new bits about your characters along the way. You never stop researching. You never stop learning. That’s why I think it’s so important to carve out solid writing time to allow yourself the opportunity to continue exploring. Not everything is going to pour out onto the page because to have a fifteen thousand word outline ( 🖐🏼 guilty). But if you can’t fight off life’s little distractions, do what you must, and make the best of what you have. I learned more about my characters in an hour and a half of chaos than I would have if I just decided to quit before I began.