Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom for Writers (and Everyone Else too): Page-A-Day

There, I've finished it. I had to finish it before I could do anything as playful and fun-filled as blogging. By "it," I mean my daily page.

Page-a-day is my mantra. It started as my New Year's resolution of 2009, when I was becoming increasingly fed-up with my slow progress. Anyone who's read my posts from the beginning of this blog will remember that my writing Aeneid was blown off course by the birth of my children and by the amount of time quality child-rearing takes. I had become one of those writers who wrote whenever they had a spare moment. And, in my case, that spare moment was always around the corner.

Enter Page-a-Day. (Initially I had it at paragraph-a-day, but ultimately decided that was just too slackerish.) This is how it works: every month, I print out a monthly calendar. I have it stuck by my desk. And my first writing priority of every day is to write ONE page of my work-in-progress.

That's right: my page-a-day doesn't include blog writing, journaling, letters to the editor, commenting on other's blogs or even REWRITING. It has to be new work. So... last year, I wrote one whole middle-grade novel and the greater portion of a fantasy novel. Man, I feel so productive!

What of the children, you may ask. Well, two of them are at school. As for the youngest, he gets to be entertained by Curious George, Super Why and the rest of PBS kids' estimable stable. (Yes, I am a morning writer type of guy.) But before you think I'm turning my child into a media zombie, I've also found that page-a-day takes me between 30 minutes to an hour, because daily writing is like daily anything: you get in a groove.

Many of you are probably doing way more than a page-a-day. I salute you. When I have all three kiddos in full-time education, I too may up my output. But for now, page-a-day saved my writing life and I'm sticking to it.

What writing mantra do you have? Do you have a daily word or page goal? I'd love to hear about it.

7 comments:

  1. I am happy for your accomplishment!

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  2. 1 word, 1 sentence, 1 paragraph, 1 page, 1 finished novel. Fight the good fight, brother!

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  3. I don't think I have a mantra, except ..writer's write.
    writing is not the problem
    it's everything else I WANT to do too
    how can one fit it all in
    I write in the morning..it's quiet and I'm alone..I must be alone
    i also write at night..when my husband has gone to bed...it's quiet and I reach into a different part of me them..
    Oh well too much info I see...but thanks for getting me thinking

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  4. MG Ninja and Suz: Never a truer word spoken by the both of you. Thanks for dropping by and sharing some of your wisdom.

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  5. My problem is, my "best" writing often comes at the most inconvenient times. In the bathtub, commuting to work...you get the idea.

    If I can make notes, I will. Sometimes they see the light of day, often times they die a horrible death when I type the beginning and it leads to nowhere.'

    But if I get an "opening sentence" in my head and it won't go away, I sit down until it's out of my system. And 90% of the time, the best stuff I write comes that way...from the heart.

    Not helpful on a daily basis, but at least you're not alone in the "when?!" department. :)

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  6. Very interesting, hope! Funny how bathtubs and behind the wheel seem to be where the Muse is most comfortable making an appearance!!!

    Thanks for commenting. I appreciate it.

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