NaNoWriMo Tip #12: The Regimen

Peter Straub

Peter Straub (Photo credit: Ed Gaillard)

It is necessary for any writer to write on a schedule, writing every day at least a little.  If you are participating in the NaNoWriMo and do not stick to a regimen of writing, you will soon find yourself way behind the goals you have set for yourself.

Peter Straub rises every morning, dresses in his signature slacks, dress shirt, suspenders and bow tie, climbs the stairs to his third floor studio and writes all day as if it were a day job, taking a break in the morning, a lunch break and then a break in the afternoon.

If you do not keep with a daily regimen of writing, you may suffer the following pitfalls and NaNoWriMo will slip through your fingers:

1.  Procrastination – One day spent not writing may become another day and then a week.  You must schedule time to write every day.

2.  Distractions – If you procrastinate because you want to watch “Walking Dead” or something, you will soon find yourself watching episode after episode of “Angel” or something inocuous rather than writing.  Distractions can be addictive practices.  Unplug your television NOW.

3.  Social Engagements – NaNoWriMo is only one month.  You social butterflies out there may have a rough month, but you don’t need to go hang out at your friend’s house or (my kryptonite) the comic book store.  Write!  Write!  Write!

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4 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Tip #12: The Regimen

  1. I agree wholeheartedly with this. When I started writing in high school, I had a set schedule (the evenings of which I had no activities or sports practices – about three nights every week, depending on the season). Since going to college, it has turned into spurts. The result? I wrote three full novels between freshman and senior year of high school, and I’ve written one full-length novel since starting college (seven years ago now). I’ve been using #NaNoWriMo this year as a starting point to actually having a writing schedule again, in order to finish the third book in my trilogy by New Year’s.

    Also, another point to think about: Practice makes perfect. Having a writing schedule means you write regularly (practicing). That is going to make your writing better.

  2. I’ve been writing fiction for about 11 years now, and for the first 8 of those years I wrote in spurts with long, frustrated gaps in between. Three years ago I decided to stop treating writing as a hobby and made myself work every day. Some days it was creative, other days it was research or just editing. But I had to do some every day. And then a strange thing started to happen – my writing became better, and it also became easier. I’m still a relatively slow writer but my current nano wordcount stands at over 38,000. Having a regimen does work. I’ll pass on the bow tie though.

  3. I have to disagree. It is *not* necessary for “any writer” to write on a schedule or even write every day. It’s a mistake to take the words of one writer (just because he’s successful and popular) about what works for him and apply it to everyone. It’s also very possible to skip days altogether, and make it through NaNo very handily. The idea that if you skip one day, that’s likely to become a pattern, is another non-viable assumption. Many writers work in spurts — intensely for however long the writing is coming along, and maybe not at all for days or weeks. But the books still get written.

    • Most writers write on a schedule, and in this day of distractions, most writers who want to finish will cut these distractions out of their lives. I don’t know very many successful writers who spend days at a time not writing. The faster one completes the rough draft for the NaNo, the more time one has for all important revision.

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