Method is defined as a procedure, technique, or system. Whether it’s a daily routine, a technique you begin with, or a system that you have set up, your writing method can help you to be successful. Think of a method as a writing habit. Just as a habit can be instrumental in changing your life, a writing method can transform your writing.
As with a habit, a writing method can take many forms, and apply to a broad spectrum of people. One of the most successful methods I have seen is to write daily. This practice engages your mind, builds your writing muscle, and furthers your writing goals.
An advanced technique of this method is to write 500 words a day. Did you know that if you did this for 365 days you would have written 182,500 words, or basically two novels? Even if you miss some days, you can see how this practice will advance your writing far more than it sounds on the surface.
With a three year old I understand writing daily may not work for everyone, so let’s look at some other methods briefly. If you wrote 1,000 words one day a week every week, Saturday for example, you would have written 52,000 words by the end of the year. Suppose you only wrote every two weeks, and wrote 2,000 words, that’s still 52,000 words at the end of the year.
In other words, this method of regular, scheduled writing can be a wonderful tool to help you write your book. Perhaps, your goal isn’t to write a book, maybe it’s to blog daily. The same method can be applied to a blog, book, script, or any other writing project.
Another method beneficial for writers is Write 5, Read 1. You would write for the first five writing days/sessions, and only read at the end of the fifth session. A temptation, especially for beginning writers, is to edit as you write. This will not only slow you down, it can discourage you.
The greatest novels of all time, were not all great after the rough draft. Had they all been edited as they were written, a number of them would never have been written at all. I would encourage you to resist the temptation to edit as long as possible.
That does not mean you never edit while writing, there are times for course correction, adjustments, etc, but they come later in the process than the beginning. Write 5, Read 1 is a good safeguard against editing too soon. It will also remind you at the end of a writing week how much you have accomplished in just five days/sessions.
Some writing methods are progressive, some protective, and others are accumulative. These are methods which not only further your current writing project, they build an infrastructure towards a life of writing. You will learn a lot in writing your first book, some of these lessons will lay the foundation for every book that follows.
One accumulative method is to build a structure for writing projects, whether physical or digital. I have a writing software that houses my primary writing projects. I use another program, a digital notebook, to begin ideas in. Last night, I began my checklist for a novella I just completed, brainstorming cover ideas, etc.
All of these methods help me in my writing, even with a full time position, caring for a three year old, serving as a Minister on the Pastoral Staff, and finding time as an artist. Methods, like habits, are wonderful tools, when used. There are a lot of tools in my garage that have dust on them, before I can use them I have to clean off the dust, and stop sneezing. Unused methods are like unused tools, they house unused potential.
I would encourage you today to review your writing methods. If there is something that you think will serve you better, I would suggest trying it. If it doesn’t work, you know what doesn’t work for you, but if it helps at all, it’s a method to consider. When utilized properly, writing methods are your personal assistants to complete your book and to open up brand new possibilities.