06 May 2014

Finish that Draft of Your Story Now

You started 2014 with the best intentions to write / finish your novel, memoir, screenplay. Now you're faltering with serious doubts that all this time and effort is going to "pay off" (add your own personal pay off here). Rather than write, which makes you feel good about yourself and life at large when you do, you beat yourself up instead with words and a tone you'd never sling at anyone other than yourself.

Forget all that.  Instead, dig out that old story you threw in the bottom drawer of your filing cabinet, resuscitate an old story you never quite wrote all the way to the end or simply recommit to the one right in front of you you've been working on all year. Fast write. Finish up the draft you're writing now… in one week.

You can do this -- finish writing your story in a week. Slap words and ideas on the page. Forget about plot perfect. That comes later. For now, all we're looking for is a draft from the beginning all the way through to the end.

Every December for the past six years, I've dedicated the Plot Whisperer blog to helping writers ready for a major revision and for those who simply wish to improve the plot of their stories. I am thrilled about the unveiling of the new and improved PlotWriMo next week. Now, rather than ask you to follow daily exercises to re"vision" and redefine the plot arc, character and meaning of your story, plus story concept and every word perfect during the busiest time of the year, you'll soon be able to revise your story anytime you wish. More about all that later. For now?

Write. Everyday. Not sure what comes next? Write anyway. Feeling so bored by your own story you can't bear the thought of sitting down and writing it? Twist the story in an entirely new direction. Be audacious. Have fun. Write. And finish. All the way to the end.

I'll talk you though this. For now, write.

I cut and paste below a blog post from last year with tips how to write in the zone.

When you’re in the flow of your writing, words and ideas come to you effortlessly. You don’t second-guess yourself. You’re not timid and paranoid about your ability to persevere.

Writing fast encourages writing in the zone. Lose yourself for one week and then you’re free to revision all you've written and shape all those thousands of words into a story your readers will love.

Being in the zone means your ego-driven mind disappears, your mind quiets and your imagination is free to flow onto the page. Your awareness shifts from your fears and worries, your to-do lists and the who-do-I-think-I-am-to-take-all-this-time-to-write-a-story? stories in your mind and your negative beliefs about your writing. No longer in the cramped and squeezed space under a heavy burden, lift yourself up by giving your story your complete and full concentration and attention to finish in one week.

The more challenging your writing, the more energized and focused and emotionally gratified by your writing you become. When you’re in the zone whether for hours or for minutes, the quality and intensity of the writing are at their greatest and you write mostly by feel and intuition and heart.

17 Tips for Slipping into and Staying in the Zone
1) Regular exercise
2) Good diet
3) Plenty of sleep
4) Drink lots of water
5) Establish a daily writing routine
6) Clear this week on your calendar -- no appointments or errands or outside demands (as much as possible)
6) Give yourself a clear and realistic daily writing goal -- push yourself to write longer every day
7) Decide where and when you’ll write daily with a minimum of distractions and interruptions.
7) Every thirty minutes stand up and stretch and breath deeply. Then sit down to write again
8) Give yourself at least a half an hour to get into the flow. Then, if you find your energy slipping switch to writing the next scene (If you’re stumped about what scene to write next, refer to The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing (all the way to the end).
9) Keep your pre-plot Plot Planner in sight and often refer to the handy guide.
10) Take risks with your writing. Be bold. Stretch yourself in your daily practice and continue studying the craft of writing.
11) Acknowledge when a limiting belief swamps your mind and ask yourself what you are most afraid of. Ask yourself what your writing would be like unconstrained by insecurity, anxiousness and fear Continually and intentionally direct your thoughts back to your writing in a one-pointed focus of attention to the scene in front of you
12) Write regularly to create a writing habit
13) Rather than concentrate on what isn’t working in your story or look too far into the future with the story, direct your attention to what you have just written. Ask yourself, because that happens, what does your character do next?
14) Each day, focus on one or two scenes and up to four scenes only and no further.
15) Write each day with no judgment. Your goal is to get the first draft written.
16) Acknowledge that, as the habit of daily writing solidifies, as the month proceeds the challenges of writing a first draft from beginning to end intensifies.
17) Stay with writing every day until you have achieved your daily word count. Congratulate yourself daily for your productivity.

You know you’re in the zone when time stops and you’re completely immersed in your story with full concentration. 

One week.
Today I write.
Need more help with your story? 
  • Ready for a massive rewrite? Re-vision first!
  • Confused about what you're really trying to convey in your story?
  • Lots of action, no character development? Lots of character development and no action?
  • Looking for tips to prop up your middle with excitement? 
  • Wish you understood how to show don't tell what your character is feeling? 
  • Are even you sometimes bored with your own story?
  • Long to form your concept into words? 
We can help you with all of that and so much more! View your story in an entirely new light. Recharge your energy and enthusiasm for your writing.

1st video (43 minutes of direct instruction + exercises for your own individual story) FREE
PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month includes 8 videos  (5.5 hours)  + 30 exercises total
For more: Read my Plot Whisperer and Blockbuster Plots books for writers.