Monday, May 30, 2016

Writing challenges and time management

Photo from Unsplash.
I'm still editing my NaNoWriMo draft, six months from the day I finished my word count. I had to cut or rewrite lot of scenes because they were repetitive or just plain irrelevant. Fortunately, though, I saved the original draft in case I want to go back and use certain scenes again (which has happened several times). Writing 50,000 words in a month kick-started a lot of great scenes, and really got me thinking about the book.

Writing challenges like NaNoWriMo are excellent because they force new writers to focus on finishing a draft. As the old saying goes, you can't edit a blank page. The problem is that November can be a tough month for students, and planning Thanksgiving can take time away from writing for a lot of Americans. I don't think I'll be able to participate again this year, let alone finish. Fortunately, there are other options available all year round.

NaNoWriMo is probably the most famous writing challenge, but there is also A Round of Words in 80 Days, which is a lot more customizable. It has a community-based approach, like NaNo, but you don't have to write an entire book.

If you already have the community part locked down, there's also the Pomodoro Technique, a time management plan. Admittedly I haven't tried in a long time, but a lot of people use it to write quickly and efficiently. (I hear it also works for studying.) And a lot of writers swear by Write or Die,

The main goal, though, is to have a routine and stick to it. You can't reliably compare your word count against anyone else's - it's a little more complicated than that. Novelists have to balance plot, characters, dialogue, and description. They have to write draft after draft. Writing challenges certainly help, but you'll know when you're done. However you get there is your choice.

Related posts:
The power of identity
Five things I learned from NaNoWriMo

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