Writing advice

What Made Me Write Again

I hope I’m not about to jinx myself, but I’m writing again. Yesterday, I passed 10,000 words on my 2nd draft of my novel, and it’s finally starting to feel like I’ve got some momentum. It’s finally starting to feel like I’ve found my character’s voice again, and it’s a great feeling. I think I might actually get all the way through to the end of the draft this time. I have faith.

It has taken a long, long time to get me here. I finished the first full draft of my novel in February, and told myself I was allowed to take one month off to adjust to my new full-time job and figure out what writing would look like with that. And now, it’s August. Which means I’ve taken a full five-month break from my book, with a very brief three day period where I wrote 5,000 words in July. Not what I intended, but there’s no use in focusing on that now.

There are a few things over these past two weeks that I’ve done that have actually encouraged me to do work. First, and possibly most important, is that I’ve given myself an Instagram ban. I realized one night as I was planning out my week just how much time I was spending on Instagram, and it was alarming. I was turning to my phone to scroll through Instagram every ten minutes. And I meanĀ scroll, too. I was not actively participating in anything. Not reading captions, not liking, not commenting, not posting myself. Just hours of looking at photographs and videos of other people’s lives in quick succession. Hours and hoursĀ every single day.

These are hours that I could be spending doing something productive, like working on my book. Or, at least, reading a book, which is a pretty important thing to do as a writer. So I decided, no Instagram, at all, whatsoever, until I reach 15,000 words on this draft. Not one scroll. And so far, the fact that I can’t look at my favorite social media right now has been enough motivation to actually sit down and write every day. It’s sad that this is what it takes but, I’ll accept whatever works right now.

As a side note, this has made me think a lot about the way I use and interact with social media on a day to day basis, and how I’ve been treating it like a necessity in my life instead of a reward for a hard day’s work. When I get back on Instagram, I’m going to reassess the way that I use and interact with it in my life, and I’m sure that will be a blog post in and of itself.

Also, I’ve been doing a really terrible job at multitasking. I’ve got about ten different creative/life projects that I want to take on right now, and I spend a lot of time researching and working on all of them off and on. And I’m excited and happy about all of these things, however, when I’m trying to do ten different things at once it’s going to take me a really long time to get just one thing done.

So I’ve made another rule. I’m not allowed to work on any other project I have until I am finished with this draft of my book. This draft has to be my number one priority right now. I’m allowed to continue doing the normal things I do every week — this blog post for example — but nothing comes before the book. And that means no mortgage research, no looking at houses on Zillow, no researching freelance editing, no hours-long Instagram photoshoots, and no working on redesigning my blog. And, furthermore, if I’m in the mood to write, I put everything else aside, and I write.

My book is my number one priority and I need to treat that way. I need to let go of everything else until I get to the end. This has been another big motivator for me, because I am absolutely dying to start looking into buying a house, to start looking into editing for a living, and to start expanding and growing all of my creative platforms.

And if I can’t do any of it until my book is done, maybe I’ll actually finish it.

So far, cutting out social media and putting this book at the top of the priority list has made a big difference for me. I know that 5,000 extra words to this draft in the last week or so doesn’t sound like a lot, but for not writing for five plus months, I’m pretty happy about it. I’m hoping that I’ll pick up momentum, but even if I don’t, I’m just thrilled I’m working on it again.

Anyway, that’s a whole lot of rambling to say that I’m writing/editing again. I’m working on making this next draft the very best it can be. And hopefully someday soon, my book will be just a little bit more complete.

I’ll keep you posted.