Staying Motivated When Life Interrupts

The last couple of weeks have marked the beginning of school for many of us. Personally I’m very excited to begin the new school year, knowing that it moves me one step closer to graduation and from there I can begin the rest of my life. I’m also excited because I’ve got some great classes this semester–particularly Aboriginal Studies and Law–but all the excitement in the world doesn’t stop me from catching sick. Which is, unfortunately, what happened to me last week. I spent most of the weekend in bed, so this is a very short post.

Despite my sickness and not getting much done–I managed to forget my school binder at a friend’s house on Friday evening because I was so out of it–I did manage to write a Dear Diary entry each day this weekend. I didn’t do any editing and I did only a little bit of reading, but I managed to accomplish those 250 words of my character’s diary each and every day. I picked 250 as my word goal because it’s not too challenging for me–it still allows me to have time to write other things and to work on my homework–and because it makes the most sense for my character, who would write fairly brief diary entries.

I hope that you’ve picked a similarly easily achievable goal. Just remember each day when you sit down at your computer that you don’t have to write an epic. Your goal isn’t to write a novel this month, and it’s certainly not to drain yourself entirely writing extremely long diary entries. I’ve made the mistake of making the word count goal too high–1, 000 words–for this challenge before, and learned that long winded diary entries don’t really help characterization, they just get boring after a while. Each day is different, but there’s only so much in any given day that’s worth writing about.

Remember that while you are challenging yourself, it’s more important to learn about your character than it is to write x number of words. The goal is to learn a little something about your character each day and to get a little more used to their voice each day. Even if you can only push out one or two paragraphs on any given day, that’s okay. You can still learn something from those one or two paragraphs about your character. And no matter how sick or busy you are, you can always write those one or two paragraphs.

What is the biggest obstacle between you and your writing time?

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About Dianna Gunn

I am a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. My first YA fantasy novella, Keeper of the Dawn, is available now through The Book Smugglers Publishing.

Posted on September 12, 2011, in Goal setting, Inspirational, Journalling, Short Fiction, Workshops, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Greetings:

    I am sad to say I have not done much for this month so for. I have had a minor back injury that has rendered me incapacitated temporarily. Having said that – the entries I *have* done have revealed that this character I had in my head does not work and I’ve had ample time to figure out why. I think I have a handle on what has happened … and been able to “think” about this coming Nano work. While I pants as a method, I usually consider some major action and character stuff.

    So … all in all … the journaling has been successful, not just the way I had anticipated.

    Have a great school year. Hope you’re better soon!

    cheers!
    rp

  2. RP,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your back. I hope you feel better soon. Human bodies are pretty fragile, and it’s important to take the time to look after yours so it doesn’t break down too quickly.

    I’m thrilled to hear that your Dear Diary project has helped bring light to your character. It’s nice to know how your character works before you start writing–or rewriting–and to figure out if what you’ve planned and who your character is are two different things. My own Dear Diary has helped me properly explore why Riana dislikes her fellow demons and likes humans so much.

    I’m already feeling much better, still a bit stuffy but that should only last another day or two. And I’m definitely going to have a great school year academically, though my closest school friend graduated and I’m finding school without him to be very weird. Particularly since attendance at my school is rather inconsistent, and he was one of the few people I could count on to be there almost every day.

    Thanks for reading,
    ~Dianna

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