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Monday, August 18, 2014

True Life: I'm a Binge-Writer

It's true- I am a binge writer. I admit it. This weekend I binge wrote, and I'm here to tell you why that isn't such a bad thing. To be honest, I didn't think binge-writing was a real thing. Then I was speaking with my editor, Danielle, during my writing quest on Saturday and explained what I was doing and how I hadn't showered or gotten out of bed--but I wrote 20,000 words!

I mentioned the phrase binge-writing and she agreed and said I should write a blog post about it to help people understand and maybe influence some people to get to the computer and start writing. So, here I am.

First thing's first: Binge-writing is actually a real term. I only discovered this after doing a google search and coming across hundreds of articles. The term actually comes from Robert Boice. You should check out some of his books. However, he claims that binge-writing is a bad thing.

I'm here to tell you it's not.

I found this article which I agree with mostly. I don't agree when he says binge-writing isn't good, however I agree with some of his comments. For example: he says not to stress, to write daily and to not focus on the outcome. All good things.

Here are my tips to successful binge-writing and just writing in general!

Don't Stress. This is huge, especially for me. Having deadlines is tough and when you put pressure on yourself to write, write, write it sometimes only makes it worse. You're focusing on writing 50,000 words in one weekend and then when you write 5,000 you feel disappointed. You wrote! That should be a success enough.

Sit In Front of Your Screen. Motivation: the toughest thing about writing for me. It's a Saturday morning, a little dark outside, you have nothing on the schedule for the day. Two options: Netflix or open that mac and write. The choice is obvious. But it doesn't have to be.

I like to give myself incentives. I'll self-talk (another thing I believe strongly in) and tell myself if I write for a little (don't set a time) then I can play a video game and feel better about it. So begrudgingly I open my mac, open scrivener and begin. I start writing. It doesn't have to be good--a first draft rarely is--but I write because maybe I'll like some of it, or maybe I'll toss it. But I write. 

Then hours later, I have 20,000 words down and I feel freaking awesome. OR an hour or so later, I've written a few thousand, if that, and I can save and move on. But I still wrote something. And that has to count. Maybe I'll like only one sentence, but I wrote and I feel better.

Write what you feel. Don't feel like you have to write your novel in order. Of course, having an outline before you write definitely helps this. For The Broken Curse, I started writing the beginning but I wasn't really into it. So I skipped to a part that I was excited to write and wrote it. And I wrote way more than I expected.

Then a few days later, I really felt like writing one of the beginning scenes. So I wrote that and because I was into it, I wrote more than I expected. Moods change, feelings change, so write what you feel like in the moment and your passion will translate to your pages.

Binge writing doesn't mean don't write daily. Truth. Just because I do really well binge-writing doesn't mean that I don't write daily. You should do both! Although through my personal experiences, I do way better binge-writing then in short spurts during the week. 

I've noticed that short writing sessions aren't as good for me. Here's what happens: I start to write. It's going great, I get into a scene. I set my alarm so I know when I have to stop. I'm mid-thought, mid-writing when I'm forced by either appointments, or work, or social events to stop. I completely lose momentum and my train of thought. 

And then the next time I sit down to write, I forget where I was and have to start all over. I find that when writing in short spurts, I can only do about one chapter at a time. By the time I get to the next, I'm stopped. By binge-writing, I write until I am ready to stop. And that rocks! I completely control when I'm done for the day--whether it's an hour, two hours, or dinner time. 

Don't be a perfectionist. First drafts are never good. Period. That's what second and third and forth drafts exist for. Don't expect it to be grammatically correct or for all your plot holes to be filled in. Just write without expectations. The raw writing is actually better and through editing you can mold it.

No distractions. Turn off your cell, turn off the wifi and make everyone leave you alone. My husband went away this past weekend so I literally had the house to myself. When there are no distractions you can fully immerse yourself into your writing and leave your body. I know when I write, I don't look at my screen. Instead, I kind of stare into space and picture what is going on, while my fingers do the work. If the TV or radio is on, it ruins the mood.

Final words: Whatever gets you to write, do it. Whether it's setting aside your Saturday and writing until you can't write anymore, or writing fifteen minutes a day, do it. Getting yourself to sit in front of the screen is the hard part. But reward yourself to make it easier. Write the parts you want to write and save the others for another time. Write in a quiet, distraction-free room and don't expect your first draft to be awesome.

Write because you love to write and don't worry about anything else. 

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