So I have this Best Selling Novel. Okay, half of it’s in my head and the other half is residing on my laptop. Let’s just say I have half of a Best Selling novel.
The half that’s mired in my head spends the day tumbling around with a number of my Viral Blogs. Okay, the blogs haven’t gone viral yet (Are you seeing a pattern here?).
Blog vs Novel
Sitting down to write, any number of ideas pop into my head about blog articles. There’s a rush of excitement about creating articles. The potential to reach people instantly. The ensuing gratification of watching my view/read/clap statistics climbing. There is an excitement that comes with blogging. Can you feel it? I knew that you could!
Working on a novel…not so much.
In contrast, sitting down to work on my novel, I have to morph into my main character and play the game of, “Where was I?” Truthfully, blogging is easier at the starting gate.
This is by no means belittling the work that goes into writing these articles—especially when reading some of the amazing content and research individual writers put together—it’s just a completely different mindset.
Checkers vs Chess
With blogging, any 30 to 60 minute opening in my day can sprint from ‘spark of idea genius’ to ‘add some wunder-cool images’ to ‘publish.’ With my novel, I find that I need to go deeper. It’s a lot like the difference between playing checkers and playing chess.
Want to play a game of checkers (blog)? I look at my watch. Want to engage in a game of chess? I look at my calendar (novel).
With checkers, my mind is thinking ‘if this then this,’ trying to keep a couple of moves ahead. With chess, I have to consider ‘how will moving this piece affect the overall game further down the road,’ and ‘will the queen get mad if I sacrifice the horsey piece?’ Don’t even try to get into my head, it’s a dangerous place, just ask one of the voices in there…
Eating an Elephant
You know the age-old story of how to eat an elephant. One piece at a time. That’s my approach to my novel. I don’t snack on it. I only eat when I’m ready for a meal (that went a little too far, sorry (not sorry (okay a little sorry))).
The main way I conquer my “Best Selling Novel” is through time-blocking. On my calendar, I have 9 am to 11:30 am blocked off, Monday-Friday. This is the time that I have specifically set aside to work on my novel. Great idea, right?
There are days that I’m “just not feeling it” and end up working on blog articles. The days that my mind just can’t get into character. I’m sure there are a number of thoughts (and posts) about “powering through” and “write even when you don’t feel like writing.” However, that doesn’t work for me. I know myself. Writing half-heartedly on a novel isn’t fair to my novel, the characters, and ultimately the ten of thousands of fans waiting for me to publish it—okay, my wife and a couple of friends. Again, that’s just me.
The results are I write every day, pretty regularly. But I only work on my novel two to three days a week.
When I do work on my novel, I commit to writing between 1,000 to 2,000 words at a sitting, which I chart on a calendar in Scrivener. Once I note my writing success on the calendar, I don’t return to my novel for the day. What do the kids say, Drop the Mic?
However, with my blogging, I tend to look for ‘openings’ in my day. If I have a new idea or want to further an existing idea, I can just hit the laptop and tap out part or all of the idea. Any lull in the day is a potential game of checkers for me (retirement has its perks – #donthate).
So here I sit, playing a little game of checkers, not sure if my mind is ready to engage in a game of chess. Let me check my calendar.