Yesterday, a comment was made to me about what was more important: writing or doing something else. I immediately responded by saying writing. The something else was hand-sewing patches onto Sean’s letterman jacket. Now, I don’t mind sewing the patches on but one patch can take an hour to do, and that’s if you get it straight on the jacket the first time. And guess what. It never goes on straight the first time. But, the question made me think about my own response. Writing at that particular moment was more important to me than doing pretty much anything else. I hadn’t had a moment to write all day due to one thing or the other until 10pm, and I was trying to get as much writing in as I could before midnight so I could update my total on NaNo’s site. I have a goal to write around 16k words per day and last night I fell about 400 short. So, when I was asked about the jacket there was no question at that time about which I’d rather do.
I’ve still had the question on my mind today. Since NaNo started I’ve had to make time to write, and that’s been hard most days. I usually write when I feel like it, but now, I have to literally force myself to stop doing something else just so I can write. Not the important things like making dinner or doing enough housecleaning to get by, but little things such as sewing patches on jackets or going to the library or the movies. Plus, I’m discovering that if I can sit down around 9:30pm every night, I get a lot more writing done than any other time of the day. In fact, once midnight hits I’m hitting a high and I have to force myself to stop writing and get some sleep. I have to be up at 6am to get kids up for school so, sleep is a definite must if I am going to make it through the day. Plus, I have three cats who insist on sleeping on my bed or being let in and out of my room at night. I probably average 4 hours of sleep a night. So, I’ve had to begin actually scheduling sleep. Interesting, don’t you think?
But here’s the thing: I am meeting my goals. Even if I fall short one day, I’m making it up the next. It’s Day 6 of NaNo and I’ve almost reached 10k words. I think that’s pretty damn decent. I’m happy with it. It makes me believe that this is possible, that I will reach 50k words. What’s more is that by ending my night on a writing high I know where to pick up, what’s coming next, and how I want my characters to mature. When I come back to the story the next night, I can sit down and begin writing again. Yes, I may stop and have to think about things. I read, and re-read, what I’ve written so I can decide if the context still works. I’m trying not to edit but just write. And it’s working. I spend less time on fixing errors and more time just getting the story out. I have a habit of info dumping but I’m noticing a difference since I began jotting down notes in my story bible, then going back to my computer and adding them in between dialogue. I have future scenes pop into my head while I’m working on one. When that happens I stop and write down enough information so I can go back and write that scene later.
And you know what else? I would not have done any of this if not for Amber forcing me into NaNo. Or maybe I might have eventually. I’m a panster. I write without any idea of where the story is going. I don’t plan or outline. I just write. But, now, I’m planning. I’m plotting. I’m taking down notes for goodness’ sakes! It’s awesome! I’m so far out of my comfort zone right now, and it feels great! You should try it.
So, what about you? How important is writing to you? How often do you think about it? Do you find a certain time of day more conducive to writing? Tell me in the comments. I’d love to hear from you! Have a great Thursday, y’all!