i’ve always been impressed with authors of all kinds – fiction and non-fiction, sci fi / historical / magic realism, text books and man pages – the idea of putting words on a page to be read by someone else to transfer knowledge and ideas is mind blowing to me.
last year i bit the bullet and joined na no wri mo which is the national novel writing month. you agree to write fifty thousand words in one month. the month of november. thirty one days. which calculates out to around sixteen hundred thirteen words per day.
BUT WHO’S COUNTING.
the website has all kinds of helpful prods like an app that shows you how you’re doing compared to the sixteen hundred words per day thing and you can sign up for groups near you (go, dutch writers!) and even friend specific people and see how you’re doing comparatively – make it a bit of a competition. they also send out tips and tricks and motivators to keep you going via email / twitter / facebook / their website.
you need to keep track of your own writing, as in, there’s no automated database repository, but you can do that via 750words.com, for example, that doesn’t post your words, and then backup locally to your own hard drive. when you want them to know how many words you’ve written, you copy / paste your work in progress to them, but they only count the words, you can’t pull that information back from nanowrimo.com. or dot org. whatever it is.
quite a few of my colleagues have written books and i’m interested in writing a book or two or three and so i asked them for their advice.
write a blog.
one colleague wrote a few blog posts without realizing it was coming together as a thread and woke up one day with the idea that there was a common thread that wouldn’t need too much converting to unify it. then he put it mostly together over the course of a holiday break. the longest part was the editing which is what i’ve read as well. it was easy peasy to write out fifty thousand words last year, but have i edited that monster? HELL no.
get a partner.
another colleague is working with a partner to write their book. when you write something collaboratively, it means you’ll be accountable to someone else right off the bat. there are all kinds of Good Things ™ associated with collab that has to do with motivation and such, but it also means that if both of you slack off, well, it’s that much harder to get going again. i guess? i haven’t agreed to work with anyone MOSTLY because i worry that i WILL be the slacker. for the same reason i don’t meet people at the gym. i mean, besides not having a membership.
just do it.
start writing. once a day. set aside the time and do it. the cliche saying is still around because it’s true – where there’s a will, there’s a way. if it’s important for you to write a book, you’ll make time to write. if it’s not, you won’t. if it’s important for you to code. or learn to ride a bike. or get in shape. or eat healthy. or exercise. or anything else, you’ll make the time.
and if it’s not, you won’t.