I'm participating in a six-week writing challenge. On Jungle Red Writers, Jan Brogan challenged readers to write one page every day before checking personal email. Sounds simple, right? It's just one page.
Many writers, me included, have found the Internet to be a big black hole of distraction. There's that blog to read. That Facebook to catch up on. That Twitter feed to update. The email Inbox containing daily digests from three different Yahoo groups. All of which can be about writing: the craft, publishing, upcoming events, pitfalls, celebrations. We also hear that many publishers do little to promote 'mid-list' books, so these activities are crucial for getting name recognition and building a following, even before publication.
But when does that leave time to actually write? It's hard to carve out the time, especially when you hold down a day job, like I do. I often write only on my non-work Fridays. My most productive period, however, was when I participated in another challenge in February. That one, the Guppies Chocolate Challenge, was to write as many words as you could in the month of February. The winner was to be sent chocolate by all the other participants. Well, I didn't win the challenge, but I did win by writing 28,000 words and finishing the first draft of Speaking of Murder.
How did I write an average of 1000 words a day? I squeezed it in around the edges. I wrote after work. I wrote before work. I wrote every weekend day. I wrote in the passenger seat on a trip to New Jersey. And it worked.
One important component, though, was concentration. And you really can't focus on following your characters around and writing down what they do if you're always taking little side trips into cyberspace and answering email, reading what Sisters in Crime is up to, responding to a fellow Guppy's recent success or a question from Crime Scene Writers group, doing a little research on blood splatter.
So the practice of this page-a-day thing BEFORE INTERNET TIME is already working. In two days I have produced four pages, on a brand-new book, the next in the series. Stay tuned! It's easier than it seems.