Today I would like to welcome guest writer, A.D.H Thomas. Enjoy!
About 8 years ago I started writing a story. This story eventually evolved into a working manuscript, and then into a finished manuscript. It took me 8 YEARS to write. Why? Because I never had enough time or focus to get it done quicker.
In the last two months, I have self-published that manuscript, written outlines for three other books and I’m currently 50k+ words into another manuscript. This isn’t anything super spectacular in the writing industry, I’ve heard of authors writing a full book in two, maybe three weeks (first draft of course), and having it ready to go within one to two months.
But for me, a full-time worker with a creative agency on the side, and many other activities outside of work, hitting 50k words in a matter of 6 weeks is massive. What will be even more massive is when I finish this book this year and publish it.
I wanted to share some things I have done in the last couple of months to refocus and energise my writing. Hopefully, you can take some of them and apply it, or even just read this and say "yeah, I do that too."
DISCLAIMER: I am a novice writer. I only have ONE book self-published and this is not a “how to get published” or “make uber cash stacks” from writing. Because I’m still working those parts out. This is just me talking about four things I do to make sure I have time and focus to write.
So, what have I been doing lately that’s different from those first eight years?
Firstly, I have made the conscious decision that I will be a writer. I hear so many people say, “I want to be a writer” or, “I wish I could write for a living” and don’t go any further with it. I used to do it too.
I went from thinking about it, to doing it. I got off the couch, stopped watching YouTube, stopped thinking about rewriting bad movies or books, and I started writing. Then I made the deal with myself that I WOULD write consistently, bit by bit, day by day.
This takes me to the second thing I started doing. Make time each day or week to write. Schedule it if you need to! Write down a day and time in your diary when you will write. And, stick to it. You might start by writing an outline or a paragraph, but the important part will be you have started. I write for a few hours about 4 times a week at minimum.
Set yourself goals to hit. Most writers will say they have word limit they want to hit each day; this doesn’t always work for me. Sometimes I end up just filling the page with pointless words when I want to hit a number. So, I aim to write a scene.
The last goal I had was to write up until two characters met. The next goal was to write up until one of those characters discovers the mysterious alien, she has been hunting. Before I knew it, I had written 9k words in 8 hours……. UNINTERRUPTED!
Now, this was sort of cheating because I was on a flight to Hawaii, so I had 10 hours of flight time, my iPad Pro and a movie soundtrack to listen to. It’s not like I have 10 hours of uninterrupted time every day. But, I knew I would have this time, so I planned for it.
You guessed it. The next one is be prepared to be productive. Get some music or something that will put you in the zone and use it! Don’t just head into your allotted time to write with nothing to support it creatively.
Music, movies, your favourite place to sit, nature, your study, the bathroom. Whatever it is, or wherever it is… use it to inspire your story. For me, it is movie soundtracks. Music plays a huge part in my creativity. I use music to focus on design work and illustration, I use it in the gym to focus on my workouts, and I use it for my writing. I often use a particular composer or soundtrack to stimulate my creative writing juices. At the moment, I am obsessed with Hans Zimmer and I have used his work throughout writing my newest book.
Just before I say “finally” I want to add a few more things about what I use hardware and software wise to make sure I can write pretty much anywhere.
I have a laptop and an iPad Pro with a keyboard. This gives me the most portable options to write since I do most of my writing, including drafts, on the compute/digitally. I also use google docs, which means I can log in and type anytime and anywhere, if I have my laptop or iPad. I use pro writing aid, and Grammarly plugins, because I’m not the best at spelling and grammar sometimes, and they have helped me refine my writing. I suggest checking out all these programs. Find one YOU like and are comfortable using.
And now we come to the final point here, if you really want to write, you need to write. That’s it really, find your inspiration, find your story and write it. Because no-one else is going to write it for you (unless you hire a ghostwriter, but where is the find in that?)
This is my plan. So far, it’s working, and we will see how it goes over the next 6 months. As I mentioned before, I’m nowhere near becoming a full-time professional writer. But, by doing all the above I have gotten more done in 6 weeks than I did in 8 years.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A.D.H Thomas is a designer and illustrator by trade who loves telling stories. He has written within several genres over the past 8 years. He resides in Melbourne with his wife and Golden Retriever. He loves dark, psychological thrillers, sci-fi, and fantasy.
Niles Myde can be purchased on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0838B35Y2/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0