Writing Advice: Lose Track of Time

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At times, writing can be an all-consuming practice. Hours can disappear quite easily if you’re working hard on a passage and don’t stop to eat or say hello to family members. Those are the good times, at least they are in my opinion. Those times when you don’t realize how much time is passing, how many words you’re putting down, how many pages are flying by — yes, those are the good times. But they can’t last forever. And eventually you’ll find yourself blocked, unable to continue, and unsure that you’ll ever see the end of your project. How do you get back to those days when time meant nothing to you and progress was smooth?

I believe that some words of wisdom from the writer John Steinbeck can help here. This piece of advice comes from the Brainpickings post, John Steinbeck’s Six Tips on Writing.

Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.

Personally, I think this is great advice to take into consideration. Think about it this way — if you never expect to finish, you won’t be constantly frustrated if you’re not progressing as quickly as you’d like. And when you do reach the end of your story, you’ll be so pleasantly surprised that it will be like the time flew right by you.

I also really like the idea of writing just one page per day. If you do that for a month, you’ll have thirty pages finished. Eventually those numbers will add up and you’ll get more and more done. In addition, setting a goal like one-page-per-day for yourself helps your momentum get started. You’ll probably find that on a typical day, you write more than one page simply because you keep on going with your story. But beginning with the guideline of just one page is a good way to get started. Hope this helps!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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