Alex Callahan

Perfect mix of magic and mayhem

Tag: writing tricks

Write Like It’s Your Job Day

Fiction writing was never my full-time job. When I was working as a freelance writer, I mostly wrote non-fiction and social media content for my clients. But writing all day tapped my creativity completely and there was very little left for fiction. So back in those days, I was technically a full-time writer, but not the kind I wanted.

Now I’m back in the corporate world and my creativity is used on my fiction projects and nothing else (and the stability of that corporate paycheck does add up a level of comfort).

But that doesn’t mean that I’m still not dreaming every so often about making fiction writing my full-time job.

So, hear me out:

I’ve been doing pretty well in April, writing a little bit every day to keep my writing streak going for Camp NaNo. As fate would have it, immediately after Camp, on May 1st, there’s a national holiday in Poland, so I will have a day off from work (and what luck would have it: it’s a Friday).

We’re still in the state of pandemic and it’s unlikely I’ll celebrate by going out. So I got a crazy idea.

I work from 7 am to 3.30 pm. Why not keep that schedule, but instead of my corporate job, spend those hours writing.

As if it was my real job.

I’ve had all-day challenges before (like the #write10kinaday challenge on Instagram last July), but they always happened on the weekend, when I was clearly trading off my day off for writing.

This time, I can pretend to work full time as an author and see what it would feel like and if I like it.

And more importantly: if I can be productive during that time.

I’m hoping I can write for at least 4 hours that day and maybe get some writing-adjacent tasks during the rest of the time. We shall see.

Wanna join me? 

#AmWriting is HARD – How I Get My Word Count In

You have to write to be a writer. But it’s easier said than done.

Like probably every other writer on the planet, more often than not, getting the words on the page is a struggle. Finding the time to write was my biggest problem for the years. Once I became a full time freelancer, that problem was solved. Yet I still struggled to finish my novel. Getting any substantial wordcount was a huge challenge and it was taking ages. At this point, I feel like I’ve tried every trick under the sun. And now I decided to share them with you.

Write every moment you can / The Pomodoro Technique

I sometimes keep my Scrivener project opened while I work on my copywriting for various clients and I will write a sentence or two in between other tasks. It never results in massive wordcounts, but by the time I’m ready to finish my day, I’ll still have a couple hundred words that weren’t there before.

Alternatively, I’ll use a modified Pomodoro Technique and just do a quick (or in my case an hour long) session and just write. For me, an hour is long enough to get a lot of words in (when I’m on a roll and the muse is cooperating, I can even pull off 2000 words in that time). Sometimes, I’ll be able to do more than one session, but that’s mostly on the weekends.

Going on a writing retreat and/or finding a writing buddy

Writing is a solitary endevor. Nobody is going to write your novel for you (unless you’re using ghostwriters, but that’s a whole different story), so you need to sit in that chair and type away. Unfortunately, the world is full of distractions, other priorities, family, friends, and so on. Sometimes it’s hard to just switch everything off and get lost in writing, especially when it’ not your full time job (yet!).

Finding a writing buddy, someone you stay in constant contact with, who is also a writer might help. I know it helped me temendously. Setting up goals, meeting on a regular basis really motivated me to keep going forward/ I’m pretty sure that without my friend, Megan, I wouldn’t be able to finish even one novel. I’m not writing the 4th one.

Another thing we do, is meet every month for an intense weekend of writing and editing. It’s something between a slumber party and a writing retreat. Nothing matters but the word count and achieving our goals. It’s amazing and results in spectacular results. If you can, you need to try it!

Word Crawls – achieving yours goals little by little

Word crawls are a fairly recent discovery for me. I stumbled upon them during last years NaNoWriMo, when I made a mistake of setting up an Overachieving Goal above the regular 50k. I needed every trick under the sun to get all the words in and I was trying out all kinds of things. But it was the word crawls that consistently kept getting me to write more. I kept telling myself “just one more step”. It was particularly helpful during the week 2 crisis.

I use different crawls to keep things interesting, if I don’t feel like writing against the clock, I will go with the Dice crawl that never returns the same number of words and so it never feels like I’m doing the same thing over and over again.

Follow my writing journey on Twitter, or share your thoughts in the comments below.

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