I was talking with some of the younger IDs (Instructional Designers) at work last week about the writing process. I knew that they were both inclined toward planning out their work in detail before putting together workbooks or elearning scripts. I mentioned that I had discovered several years ago that there’s a lot of value in spontaneous writing.
There’s something special that happens when you just start writing. Your creative mind is freed up somehow to explore things you didn’t realize you had in mind, and to make connections that always seem so mystical in the writing process. Some of the work I’ve produced using this technique is some of my best writing, I think.
I also had decided last week that it was time to start getting more done. I drive about three hours a day, since I live in Missouri and work in Kansas. Between my work demands, my seven cats (who don’t all live together and need separate times with mom) and my drive time each day, not to mention household demands, I don’t have the luxury of planning every word I write. I also have learned that revision is actually more fun than first drafts anyway . . . !
So I’ve decided to get back to “just writing.” I had done NaNoWriMo in the past, but I asked myself what’s so special about 50K words in one month? If I did 500 words a day (two pages double spaced essentially) I’d end up with 50K in three months. Not too shabby.
So that’s my new goal: 500 words a day. I often take my lunch hour to write, and I think that’s doable in a lunch hour. As a working writer, I often write to deadlines, and can jump in and usually get something worthwhile pretty quickly when I have to. And write now, I have to. I need to be producing more—and more quickly.
What do you think? How do you handle a busy schedule and still get your first drafts done?