Another month of writing is in the books, so here I am, back at the Tyrannosaurus Ranch to make my report. I'm pleased to say that I've continued my daily writing habit that I've been working on establishing since the first of February of this year. I'm now writing approximately an hour a day. I say approximately because I probably average slightly less. Some days I'm not able to hit my goal. This has less to do with writing stamina and more to do with external circumstances. I have found that I write best in the morning and so have been getting up early to get my writing in before the rest of the house wakes up . . . only sometimes they wake up early and sometimes I sleep in late. As a result, my hour of writing gets truncated on those days. But I had far fewer days this month in which I only did my five minutes minimum, so though I am not keeping detailed records, I think it's a safe bet to say that I wrote significantly more in April than I did in March--and certainly more than in February.
I did not, however, write every day. GASP!
I missed one day (the 28th) because things just got too busy and hectic. In the past, when this would happen, I'd make myself do the five minute minimum, often getting out of bed at night to get the time in because it had totally slipped my mind. This time, I got to thinking. That five minutes I'd squeeze in before bed just to say that I'd written that day rarely if ever resulted in quality writing. It was mostly busy work so that I could tick a box on my calendar. So I decided it just wasn't worth it and went to sleep. It actually feels to me more in keeping with the spirit of writing every day, if not the actual letter of the law.
I also decided on the seventeenth that from that point forward, I'd take Sundays off. It seemed like it was always a chore to write on Sundays. Often I'd do five minutes of filler and then call it good. So again, I decided it wasn't worth it. Also, it's been nice to give myself a day off and I think it might actually be beneficial to the writing. A day to let ideas percolate in the ol' subconscious.
Another difference this month is that I've been focusing almost exclusively on writing a new novel. I think I spent a few days brainstorming a story idea, but by and large, this month has been dedicated to working on this new book. A friend told me about a new-ish "how-to" book and his rave reviews made me pick up a copy. Friends and neighbors, it is, frankly, mind-blowing. I can't recall a better book about story. If you wanted to be a writer and only wanted to read one book on how to do it, Story Genius by Lisa Cron is the book you should read. I may do a longer review of it somewhere down the line, once I've completed the process it lays out, but for now I'll just leave it at: It's the best damn book on writing I've ever read.
I've been working through Story Genius, doing the exercises (though exercises is not really the right word), and the novel looks to be shaping up nicely. I'm still in the early stages of brainstorming and outlining, but I'm feeling pretty confident that come the end of the year I should have a pretty decent manuscript to start shopping around.
To that end, I plan on keeping up the daily writing. I'll let you know how May goes here on Tyrannosaurus Ranch, so stay tuned for updates!