As part of 2017, I’ve decided to put together a series on how I write and why I have specific habits. These posts are for anyone who aspires to start writing and enjoys my style! If you’re just a reader, and not interested in writing, feel free to skip this series 🙂
The Writing Rhythm Wheel
As a writer, the number one complaint I get from readers is why I don’t spend more time on a specific work. The funny thing is, I get this for all the different pieces I’m working on- in other words, there is no clear “winner” among my novels that I should focus on.
I understand why readers feel this way- perhaps they want another chapter of The Bridge but I’m working on Life Magic, or vice versa. But here’s a secret I learned about a year ago as I started taking writing more seriously.
It’s easier (and faster) to finish two novels that it is to finish one.
Now wait, you might be thinking, That makes no sense! Two novels is twice as many words, how can it be possible to write them faster? Well, here’s my answer:
Think about the last time you read a long series- after five or six books about the same characters back to back, you need to take a break, right? Writing is like that but multiplied by ten. When writing a book, if you try to sprint through it you’re going to get winded quick, especially if you don’t have years of building writing stamina tucked under your belt. Maybe it will happen fifteen chapters in, maybe it will happen fifty, but it most likely will happen at some point.
Some authors power through it, but for me the best way to avoid fatigue is to break up the writing schedule. And here’s the way that I’ve found that is most effective in preventing fatigue (AND writer’s block) while still pushing out chapters. I call it the writing rhythm wheel, and this is how it works.
Pick two genres that you are comfortable with, and develop plot lines for them. Now, before beginning, it is crucial that these stories exercise different parts of your brain. The point here is that if part of your brain gets tired during one story, then you can switch over and maintain pace on the other story. That way, you never have an excuse to stop writing- there should always be something you can work on. If your goal is 1000 words per night, and you just can’t stomach writing the next 800 about novel A, or you’re stuck, then pick up novel B!
For example, take two of my works, Life Magic and The Bridge:
Life Magic– Fantasy, loads of characters, epic style plot, creative
The Bridge– Science Fiction, two main characters, logical plot style, formulaic
Each of these stories is incredibly different, so different that I can hop between them when exhausted of one and still maintain pace. The Bridge uses the scientist part of me, where Life Magic uses my childhood imagination part. And together, they allow me to “keep the ball rolling”, because I never have an excuse to skip writing.
So for those of you who may have writer’s block, or may be experiencing difficulty in finishing a work, give this a try! You still have to stay diligent, and you still have to put in the hours, but this may make it easier on you. Though this may not work for everyone, it certainly works for me. I can’t say for sure, but it looks like authors far more prestigious and famous than myself may use a similar method though they often maintain similar genres or works. For instance, check out Brandon Sanderson’s page and look at how many novels he is completing at the same time in the upper right hand corner. Or look at Jim Butcher’s page and see how many projects he is currently working on!
So keep the pens to the paper! Keep writing, and don’t let fatigue be an excuse to stop! If you use a method like this, or know of other authors who do, let me know about it below.