Friday, January 1, 2010

The Difference a Day Makes


New Year's Day, 2010: Day One of not just a new year, but a new decade. You knew that, right? I just had to say it and write it down. :)

Acknowledging it in print makes me appreciate the difference a day can make. Yesterday, I didn't want to reflect too long on one decade passing away. I'm not good with good byes. But today is a hello. That's different, don't you think? Somehow, today, even that saying "today is the first day of the rest of your life" doesn't seem so corny. It means a bit more today than it did only yesterday.

So, I get why today is special and I get why today is The Day for resolutions.

In thinking about the difference a day can make, I thought, there must be something more I can resolve as a writer. Something that pins down my end of year and somewhat open-ended goal of "keep moving forward" to something more specific. I felt, on this day when the mood shifts from looking back to looking forward, that it would be a good thing to take one more step.

So, I did make a resolution earlier today, but I took it back. *sheepish look* You know, like someone does when they have second thoughts and make a mad dash to recover an unsent letter. I almost got a way with it, too. Some one, and you know who you are, saw my resolution.

If you didn't see it, are you curious what it was? Hint: For a writer, it's something quite logical. Okay, I'm going to tell you, whether you are curious or not. *grin*

It was a resolution for daily writing.

Yep, that was it. Nothing too big. Why would I take it back? Part of it was the fact I'd spent considerable time declaring it then realized I hadn't, and probably wasn't, going to work on the story today. Oh, the irony! *LOL*

You might say there was a loophole. Didn't this blog count? Uhm, no. It could, but that's not what I meant and I know it.

I'm still going to try to write daily on the story, but I guess I'm not yet ready to commit. Is it possible to be in the plotting stage of a resolution? *grin*

First, I need some tips or tricks. Preferably tricks. Those things that lure me to write and keep me coming back. A couple that come to mind:

  1. Begin in the middle of a scene. This means I have to end in the middle of a scene.
  2. Write at the same time. (I never do. I will have to see what works.)
Next, the numbers. As much as I hate to think about minimums, there are only three ways to keep track; word count, page count and a time limit. Options (deliberately set low) :

  1. Minimum 100 words.

  2. Minimum of two pages.

  3. Minimum of one hour or until #1 or #2 are achieved, whichever comes first. The hour can include plotting or research.
Why not try all three? The only trick I can think of is this: it has three things and I only have to do one of the three! And if I do #2 then I automatically have done #1. If I do #3 then I've done all three. Make sense?

I'm iffy on #3. I think the words in the story are what count. I can see myself spending every hour for a week on the plotting and "prep" work, but I also think they should count some way. How to set a time limit? Some say 15 minutes but I wouldn't get anything done that way. I guess it's a low limit just to get you started, like a low word or page count, but it seems like if the others are present then I'd have a longer time minimum.

And limit or ban the extras; blogging or emails until this is done? But...*whine*...my favorite blog discussions are in the morning. They are my warm up. Actually though, soon I will be in classes weekday mornings, so that answers that. Yep, I can ban it when I don't have a choice.

What about rewards? I think the extras like blogging and emails is a reward. Of course, the sense of accomplishment. What else? What other incentives to sustain me before the final, biggest reward of the words added up to a completed manuscript? Maybe even a point system. That would be kind of fun. Like 100 points for #1, 200 points for #2. Or would that be 300 points? Bonus points for above and beyond? Some kind of tangible reward every 1000 points?

How about some ideas? Any writing tricks or tips for developing a daily writing habit? Care to help me plot the resolution? Ever take back a resolution?

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