Writing a novel takes time – lots of time.
For me, one of the most difficult things about the lockdown has been hearing about how much time everyone has on their hands. The media (social and otherwise) has been full of people describing how they’ve used all that time to learn Sanskrit, gain a fast-track degree in psychology, or build a one-in-five scale model of Canterbury Cathedral out of matchsticks. Or in some cases, all three. So why is it that even during the lockdown I still don’t have enough time to write?
I’m making progress with my latest WIP, but only by grabbing what little time I can from a busy schedule. At the end of last year I moved from South Wales to Shropshire, and between designing and building a new (quite large) garden, working on the house (which, being Victorian, will happily swallow as much time (and money) as I can throw at it), and my part-time studies (Post Graduate Diploma in Garden Design – nearly done now), I’ve been kept rather busy. Add in the diminished energy levels that I presume to be a combination of age, and my on-going battle with sinusitis, and it feels like I’m swimming against the tide. I’m not a strong swimmer. You may have noticed a lack of posts on this blog recently.
I’ve written about 35,000 words of novel number three (so about a third of the way through) and I’m at a critical stage. Now, more than ever, it’s important to work on the draft regularly. Even if I don’t have long to spend each time, I find it’s better to write little and often; that way I can keep the thing in my head, and even if I’m not getting many words down on the page, I’m still developing the story and the characters in my mind. If I go more than a few days between writing sessions then it all starts to slip away, so that when I next get a chance to write, I waste a lot of time re-familiarising myself with what’s already written, and trying to recall what I’d intended. I wonder, is this just me; or do all you other writers out there find the same..?
text & image ©Graham Wright 2020
One of the things I do when I’m writing is to jot down a few notes about where I’m headed at the end of each writing session. That way when I pick the piece up again, I just read a few paragraphs back, and then the direction I’m going, and it allows me to remember the details a lot quicker. Another idea is to get a bunch of note cards and write one to two sentences about each scene and pin them to your wall in order, giving you quick hints at what you’ve already written (and is also really helpful when you get to the editing stage). Good luck with your novel!
Thanks Crissi – some good tips in there!
You certainly do sound busy! I found that Zoom opened up a plethora of online goodies (previously paid literary events) so I’ve gone down that rabbit hole 🙂
Lots here that I empathise with! After finishing a long novella in January, I’ve been writing my first full-length novel since March, now at 50 000 words.
Two things work for me: targets and sacrosanct time for writing (1-5.30, weekdays); and reading the previous day’s writing to get me back into the groove. I use Scrivener, which has become my best friend over the years.
Good luck with your novel!
Thank you. Good luck with yours – it sounds like you’re getting there.