When it comes to writing tips, we talk a lot about setting rewards for ourselves for reaching certain milestones because writing isn’t easy. It’s a long, drawn-out, gruesome process that challenges you in ways you could never imagine. This is why most people never start, let alone finish their novels. You have to be completely dedicated to reaching the end and willing to give up a lot time for other things (check out Three Big Chunks at Routines for Writers). I spend 2-3 hours every day just working on my writing–that’s easily 730 hours a year! There are days where turning on my laptop seems like torture, I hate everything I write and I even start to hate myself. That’s why we talk about rewards so much. Sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps us going.
I reached 25,000 words last night–an awesome milestone and big accomplishment for only a month’s worth of work. Usually, after I complete National Novel Writing Month, my regular writing pace is disappointing but I’m happy with the progress I’m making, especially with no one holding me accountable for reaching the goal but myself.
Over a year ago, I wrote about the book I’m meant to write, and I’m really starting to feel that way about this book. I’m excited to see where it goes, I feel good about the message I’m trying to get across and I’m seeing the story blossom in ways I never expected. I am completely immersed in writing this novel. I’m at that point in the writing process where I’m so caught up in the story itself, I forget to be mad at myself for not writing it perfectly. Thinking about how to make the first kiss absolutely perfect takes up way too much of my brain to be worried about whether I should have used ferocious or voracious in that last sentence. I’ll worry about that on the second draft.
I’ve also been working with my writing partner and already, after only sharing my synopsis with her, she’s giving me some great things to think about. She’s asking questions most people wouldn’t think to ask–“What’s the point of this?” and “How is this connected to that?” It’s making me look at my story in completely different ways and evolving it past what even I thought it could be. There’s this deeper level, past the romance and past the everyday events, that is just now presenting itself and I feel like this story can be so much more than I originally set out to do. What an incredible feeling!
While getting deeply entangled in this story, I’m reminded that for me, writing has always been its own reward. I don’t need the promise of a movie or a new pair of shoes when I’m done. Just seeing my word count rising keeps me happy, keeps me moving forward. All I need at the end is the $5 in paper to print out my completed draft to make me feel like a million dollars.
I encourage you to do the same. Love writing–on the days where everything that comes out is gold and on the days that make you feel like a total fraud. Enjoy the process of the ups and downs and know that at the end, if you push through it, you’ll have a book to show for it. If you can do this for yourself, if you can learn to make your writing its own reward, then you’ll keep writing whether there’s a big party or a publishing contract at the end. Just because you love to write.