Monthly Archives: June 2013

Let’s Create a Writing Habit

Tried and tested writers will be aware of the genius little site called 750 Words. If you haven’t heard of it, the idea behind it is in the name. You create an account purely to write 750 words a day. You don’t have to spend time writing a snappy description of your hobbies and interests. You don’t have to update your status or describe your current emotion at that moment.

It just asks that you take time from your day to write 750 words. About what? Well, anything you like. They’re your 750 words after all! It’s an exercise in training your brain and yourself to sit down and write something every day. It doesn’t need to make sense, it doesn’t need to link together or match up to the day before. You don’t have to finish what you’re writing about and you never have to read it again. But you are training yourself. After all, much like anything else, the brain is a muscle and if you want to create a habit within yourself, you need to train until it becomes exactly that – a habit. When you’re at a point when not doing something feels like you’re missing something from your day, you know you’ve formed a habit.

And you don’t even have to write all 750 words in one go. If you can type at 100 words a minute, you only need 8 minutes of your day to write (assuming you can keep going without any interruptions or pause for thought), but even if you’re a slower typer and find you haven’t got a lot of free time, you can do it in bits and pieces and just get used to using that free time to jot down ideas and thoughts.

If you write so many days in a row, or at certain times of the day, or at a particular speed, you can earn badges. (Badges!) Who doesn’t want a Turquoise Horse badge? (There’s even a badge for NaNoWriMo! You just write 50,000 words in one month.) You can even join in the One Month Challenge – where you endeavour to write 750 words a day for a month.

AND! There’s STATS! (I definitely heard a collective ‘ooooh’ then.) Fellow Internet nerds will love stats. Here’s a hopefully working link to the states page for my first 750 word day.

http://750words.com/entries/share/2882376

(I was blathering in third person about Britain’s poor excuse for a summer and how we like to make the most of it when we can.)

You can review what your brain thinks about – where your first port of call is. Do you like writing about happy or sad topics? People, yourself, the world around you? What about location? Food seems to be a major topic in my ramblings I’m learning so far. You can also see how often you pause. My pauses are a little off as I’ve been doing 750 words in work and I sadly do have to answer the phone on occasion and can’t quite write whilst discussing flights.

Just picking a random topic and writing because if you don’t do it that day you don’t get a little green ‘X’ in a box is an amazingly creative way to open up your mind. I’ve not really had any ideas for stories from it yet (but I’ve only been doing it four days) as I’m mostly using it to just cleanse our my fairly cluttered brain. I’ve come up with some blog ideas, though. I’ll mark them as 750 word creations (edited from the original).

You don’t have to tag or label or describe your work. It’s private, it’s open-ended; it’s yours. Go and try it.

The Hardest Thing in This World is to Strive For Your Dreams

I have a vivid memory of myself when I was 8 or 9 years old. I was standing in a corridor in school and determinedly thought to myself about what I was going to do once I had finished primary school. I was going to go to high school (at age 8, I didn’t realise this was compulsory), then college, then university, and then I would become a published author. It was somewhere around this ages I wrote my first short story (available to read here).

It’s now 18 years later and I have achieved all but the last of that list. And it’s the last item, which is my dream and therefore has been the hardest thing to reach for. Why? Because the only person I really have to motivate me is myself. I’m not harming others, or giving happiness to others if I do or don’t get published. This is something to do solely for myself, and I think that’s what makes it hard. Not because I don’t feel I don’t deserve it, but because there’s no outside drive to push me into it.

Recently my boyfriend and I began the nuts exercise regime called ‘Insanity’ (Google it). It’s essentially 6 days a week of a 40 minute intense aerobics session and you end up dripping sweat afterwards if you do it properly. After the first two days my calves hurt so much I had issues walking up and down stairs. As we’re doing this in our flat, it would be easy to say we’re not going to do it one day ‘cause we’re both tired. But with the two of us doing it, we’re encouraging each other on the days when one of us feels less than enthusiastic about it. So far, we’re doing amazingly well. If either was doing this on our own, we wouldn’t be still going.

This is why I believe NaNoWriMo is such a great thing. Because no matter where in the world you are, you can connect with other people doing the same insane challenge through the power of the Internet and can get the support, the encouragement, the cheers, whenever you need them. Having people around you doing the same thing you are I believe helps you to achieve what you’re trying to do because it’s easier if you know someone is going through the same thoughts, problems and who understands how you’re feeling.

Going back to my 8 year old dream – I still want to be published. I have a novel in the process of being edited. But I haven’t edited in so long. I come up with a ton of lame excuses as to why I haven’t edited. The last time I looked at my novel, I had left it a few months and couldn’t fully remember the story prior to where I was up to. Rather than back track a bit, I decided to leave it. And now the situation will be worse.

With editing, I have a completely different mindset to writing. Writing I can do anywhere, especially if I have a pair of headphones with me. But with editing, I need to be in a room by myself, with a spacious area for spreading out notebooks, post-it notes, pens, etc, and the space to pace the floor when I’m thinking or working something out. (I’d probably be thrown out of a coffee shop if I kept jumping up to pace between the tables.) This means, I only have myself to fully motivate me, and it’s a struggle.

What do you do when you need to motivate yourself? There’s nothing I particularly want right now which I can offer myself as a reward, so I’m thinking more along the lines of withholding things I enjoy until I park myself at my desk and flippin’ well edit the thing!

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