I’m deep in the throes of National Novel Writing Month, and having an awesome November, at that. I’ve been ahead in my word count since day one, and it has felt amazing. My goal has been to double the daily word goal, something I haven’t hit every single day, but often enough. One thing I haven’t done, though, is indulged in a day off. I’ve written something every single day. And by doing that, my novel has gained something highly valuable: momentum.
Four Wheels and No Engine
Have you ever tried to push a car that wasn’t running? It’s not the easiest thing to do. You might need a buddy or two to help. Have you ever noticed that the first push is the hardest? Getting those wheels turning often takes a huge, precisely-timed shove from your crew. It may take a couple of tries to get it moving. But once you have the car rolling, you’re great (unless you hit a speed bump). Suddenly, pushing the vehicle isn’t that tough. You might even be able to keep it moving on your own. Once you’ve gained momentum, moving forward is easy.
Like that stalled car, a novel (or any other project) can take a good shove to get going. The most difficult part is when you stop working on it for a while. I’ve noticed in my own life that an incomplete project I haven’t touched in several days (or weeks) is one of the hardest things to pick back up. Writing daily is one of the keys to producing momentum as a writer.
What’s Your Frequency?
My writing time has been so frequent this NaNoWriMo that it has helped me discover more about my own behavior patterns. I haven’t missed a day. However, at the times that I’ve gone more than twenty-four hours without adding words to my novel, I find it the most difficult to work on. I have that inward groan of dread at the very thought of my plot. I’m annoyed with my characters. I remember all the things I hate about the story and forget all the things I love.
But I’ve also noticed that if I can keep my attention on it enough, writing at a couple of different times each day, the story is always rolling around in the back of my mind. When I do that, it’s much easier to jump in at the spur of the moment.
Twenty-four hours seems to be my max as far as length of time it’s healthy to go without writing. Have you noticed any patterns between your writing frequency and your momentum? Do you write every day?
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