Many writers point out the importance of writing every day with literary devices. Let’s analyze what Walter Mosley says in a book titled “This year you write your novel”:
“This year you write your stories, your essays, your poetry books, etc. To be a writer you must implement a daily routine. Devote a certain amount of time (no less than an hour and a half) and sit in front of your computer or notebook. I know this can be difficult, but it is worth it.”
Daily writing creates, or transforms, the habit of doing something no one is forcing us to do, and it finally makes us get used to being in permanent contact with our creative skills.
However, as anyone who has done it, or wanted to, knows this is no easy task. After all, commitment to writing fiction is extremely hard and consumes our time and energy. But if we want to write, we need to write and think about write every day.
One of the difficulties consists in the fact that having all that time devoted strictly to writing may and will overwhelm anybody. But before discussing how to handle that thought, let’s look at a related problem.
Writing a story: short story(s), novelette, novel
Just the thought of writing a story, a novelette, or a novel, may seem overwhelming. It is possible to be intimidated by the high amount of words or pages that a fiction book requires. We would be facing the same amount of work that a person is facing when he (or she) is about to climb a mountain; he (or she) looks at the peak as something remote and distant, and starts to have doubts. That person would doubt his objective to the point of becoming paralyzed or even postponing his climbing.
The first step and the following
How do we write every day without giving up? By always focusing on the next step.
The next half hour
The reward for writing is determined not only in what is produced during the creation of your book. But, in the creative flow that is experienced while writing.
So, in this case, the most complicated thing is to decide to sit in front of a notebook or computer for a determined time. If we are just beginning to write, to exercise our craft, it will be enough with fifteen minutes or half an hour. But if we have already advanced a bit, and we want to take Mosley’s advice, then we need to find the time in the day in which we have at least an hour and a half, or divide that time in several segments. When we open up this space and use it productively, we realize that another half an hour in another time of the day would constitute an excessive burden.
When we have more time and experience, we will write for more than an hour and a half.
Anyway, the first step and the following one, will always consist in writing for a determined period of time, short enough to find time for it, and, as long as possible depending on our development as writers.
The next page and the next specific task
When you have already identified a work that you want to write, you do not have to think all the time in the whole project, but in each one of the steps that you need to take in order to complete it, and particularly, in the next step.
To write a story, a novelette, or a novel, we do not need to think too much on the 10, 100, or 400 pages that we need to write. It is better to consider the work as a sum of many phrases or pages that we will write one by one (there is no other way). If we write one, two, three, or more pages every day, we will have a first version of a story in no time, and in some months, that of a novel, something that would seem impossible any other way.
In fact, we have experienced this as readers, as when we are going to read a book, we do not stop to think on the number of pages it has, but we dive into reading it, page by page, and we advance without noticing it, until we finish.
On the other hand, it is also convenient to determine clearly which the next step is; which is the next small task that we need to begin in order to write our story or piece. In order to take the next step, you should be clear on what it is: look for an idea, solve a plot problem, identify what problem is keeping us from advancing, or just keep writing or editing where we are. In this way, we will concentrate our energy in something concrete and we will not thinking in something unattainable and the immensity of our work.
For example, if we are looking for an idea, we will focus our mind in being alert to its appearance, in writing a brainstorming of ideas, in reading texts that may suggest something to us, in meditating, or any method to look for ideas, but focusing on that purpose.
The first step is always the hardest. That is why it is convenient to begin with a small step and to gain confidence as you advance further.
If it is about finding time, and we want to begin writing, then just fifteen or thirty minutes a day will allow us to acquire the habit to then write some more.
If it is a working piece we want to complete, then it is better to start by writing flash stories, short stories, novelettes, and then move on to novels.
On the other hand, both purposes, that of writing every day, and that of writing a text, are mutually reinforced. Daily writing will allow us to progress in a writing and advancing in the text will make us want to keep writing every day.
So, I invite those who want to write to do so absolutely every day (I include myself in this resolution), and to share their experiences in this or any other post of the blog that may revisit this point at a later point of time.