The school year has started. Long gone are those endless days of summer where thousands of words flow out of me at my leisure. Being an art teacher, I use up quite a bit of creative energy during the day. I sit at my computer in the evening, and often fall asleep.
We’ve all been there.
Instead of getting upset at myself, I decided that I needed to establish a writing routine, something reasonable and achievable. Time that I can look forward to during the day. And if halfway through a sentence I fall asleep, so be it.
Here are a few things that I have decided will count towards my hour a day of writing.
- Writing a few hundred words of my next novel.
- Editing my current novels.
- Writing a blog post.
- Writing and sending a query letter.
- Plotting a new novel.
- Writing down one idea for a new story.
Yes, writing down an idea, which probably only takes five minutes counts for my full hour. Why is that?
I know you’ve had a moment when you’re listening to the radio, you overhear a conversation, you watch something happen in real life and you think…
That’s a great idea for a story.
I’ve been there. And sometimes, I manage to scratch these ideas down on restaurant napkins (the paper kind, of course) or on an old receipt, or a scrap of paper by my bedside. Inevitably, these ideas get lost, forgotten, or stuffed in a notebook somewhere with many other good ideas never to be realized.
I decided for an entire month to formalize my approach to generating good ideas for stories. One month turned into two, and I’m hoping to keep it going. I added it to my daily writing routine, and I’m glad I did.
You can do it too!
Write down one idea for a story every day. That’s it. They can be good ideas, silly ideas, conceptual, concrete, heck, even BAD ideas. The point is to write them down. I use this format:
PB, CB, MG, YA, NF
Title of the Book, or a This meets That
Short description off the top of my head.
Here’s an example:
September 5, 2016
The Case of the Curse-ed Caterpillar
What do you do when caterpillars are eating your roses? Invite them to a tea party, of course. This is one little girl’s struggle to save her roses and make a friend.
Totally writable! Although I usually write CB or MG, I did not suppress this charming idea for a picture book.
September 22, 2016
The Three Musketeers Meets Little Women
Jo, the leader of an incorrigible band of sword wielding sisters, fights for peace, love and words in a world where political unrest threatens to make the written word illegal.
Terrible idea, or genius? Not sure. BUT, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I had this crazy idea and wrote it down, putting energy towards my writing a little bit every day.
Even if I don’t write a query letter, or do any editing in a particular day, I feel accomplished. I have approximately 37 ideas generated from my month (and a bit more) of writing an idea a day. Not all of them are useable, but you never know how one thing leads to another.
I’m currently plotting the idea I wrote down on September 3, 2016 using my sticky notes. Sorry, not going to share that one (wink).
Give it a try! You won’t regret it for a minute.
(Note: PiBoIdMo has moved to January!)
Do you have a writing routine that works for you? How do you keep yourself accountable? Feel free to share!