Summer is one of the best times to complete projects you’re passionate about. Days are long, so even if you spend hours working on a book, writing new songs, or reading a ton of books on your reading list, it still doesn’t take up all the hours of your life. You have time to go out with friends and get your work done in the office. Even if you’re as busy as a lawyer like Aaron Kelly or a business entrepreneur like Thomas Zaccagnino, you can still work on what you’re passionate about. And this summer, you’ve decided you’re going to work on a novel.
Whether you’ve decided that you’re going to start writing, exploring characters and setting, or complete a whole novel, there are lots of ways to go about it. By using these tried and true strategies, you’ll get a lot written, and your writing will be high-quality, too.
Plan your writing schedule
When it comes to tackling a huge project like writing a novel, you need to make time for it in your schedule. Considering that a novel is usually between 50,000 to 110,000 words, you can’t simply set aside twenty minutes a day to write it on your phone when you’re commuting. Sure, that can count for some of your daily writing allotment if inspiration suddenly strikes, but when you have such a high number you’re aiming for, it’s better to create word counts for every time you sit down to write.
For example, if you work full time, wake up early on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays so you can write for an hour. Clear your Saturday or Sunday for writing, as well as researching history or character development if it applies to your book. If you need to create a ritual, where you go for a jog or visit an inspiring museum beforehand, clear out time for that, too. It’ll be challenging at first, but like any habit, once you do it enough, you’ll write faster and better over time.
Use the right apps–and don’t use the wrong ones
When it comes to pursuing any creative project in 2018, there are lots of distractions out there. And one of the biggest distractions is social media. In 2017, the average American adult spent 2 hours and 51 minutes on their smartphone every day–and chances are, you’re spending a similar amount of time on your own. This is crazy if you think about how much of that time could be spent working on your novel! Three hours a day is a huge chunk of time.
So put your phone on airplane mode. Close your browser. If you need the Internet to do research while you’re working on a sci-fi or historical fiction novel, use an app that blocks the sites you’re addicted to. Apps like Marinara Timer can help you schedule your time in productive chunks, and ListsforWriters provides you with ideas when it comes to characters, plot, genre, and more. In the same way that companies use an ACH to process transactions, you need to use the right technology to motivate yourself.
Get a writing partner or take a class
Even if you’ve set up a schedule and you’re using apps that help you along the way, you can still have trouble motivating yourself. Especially because it’s summer, and you might have distractions like fun at the pool or fun with the family, it’s easy to close your laptop and say, “Well, it’s a beautiful day–I can finish this later.” And while YOLO and FOMO are legit, this is an easy way to lose track of writing your novel completely.
That’s why having a writing partner can be such a great solution. By getting someone else to write alongside you at your favorite cafe, and comparing notes, you can motivate each other to keep working. If you want even more motivation, think about joining a class, where you’ll have deadlines you have to meet to submit pieces of your novel for a workshop. Check out your local writing center or library to see what’s available–and you can always create a new group on MeetUp if there isn’t anything near you.
MeetUp’s members totaled almost 40 million people in 2017, so you’ll find someone who’s interested in writing together and revising work, too.
By using these strategies, you’ll have the motivation you need to write your novel this summer. Do you plan on finishing a whole novel this summer, or getting a start? Which of these strategies do you think you’ll use?