Two of my greatest achievements in life were my black belt in martial arts and winning the first ever writing competition I entered, Nanowrimo 2016.
I do a lot of things. I work on a lot of projects that I give myself. These projects aren’t necessarily always a good idea but I always strive to make sure that what I do has a benefit. Years ago, seven now, I started writing a science fiction novel. It was poorly written with gaps all throughout the plot and story. I started in the middle of the book and worked my way around to the start and ending. However, what I took from learning to write that novel that took five years I employed in the National Novel Writing Month competition. The goal of the competition is to write 50,000 words in one month, 30 days to be exact. If my math is correct that is around 1,665 words a day. I planned much more and much better for that entry so it went much faster than my unplanned novel.
Of the over three hundred thousand participants, only 10% earned the “winner” title. I was one of the 10%.
I learned a few valuable lessons. Sometimes, the first time you work on something, it is bad. You have strange characters that don’t make sense, weird plotholes that need filling, and sometimes even weirder events take place. I wrote my first novel, 110K words, in 5 years. My second novel, what I believe to be more of an outline, I wrote in 30 days, 50K words. Now if my math serves me correct, that is quite the jump. If I wrote for two months, I could get to 100K words. 60months versus 2 months, that is quite amazing, quite the improvement. I could provide excuses as to why my first novel took so long; I was doing my bachelors and then my masters in business administration, I started a business, I was also doing other things. Yet, that did not stop me from working hard with my second one. My motivation was real!
The whole reason I wrote this blog was to say that when I do something, I strive to not only do it well but also to make sure the next time is a lot easier. With my first novel completed, I started working on a guideline for my future novels. I currently have two trilogies planned as well as some singles. Hopefully, they are all hits. The same goes for my coding and computer building. I write guidelines, I make notes, I jot down things that may be of benefit to me later because I forget things.
Here are my guidelines to writing good guidelines:
1. Start a cloud-based document .
2. Make sure you can access it with multiple devices, thats the reason for it being on the cloud.
3. Find someone who is an industry guru and read their work.
4. Make notes about things you did not think about or new things you’ve learned.
5. Write, in your own words, what you learned.
6. Now, do what you came to do; coding, cooking, painting, sports, writing, martial arts etc.
7. With each new endeavor, read more and take more notes.
8. Update that guidelines document and make sure you read it. It’ll provide inspiration.
These eight tips have helped me out of writer’s block in the middle of Nanowrimo when I was thousands of words behind. It helped me secure the place as a winning author in Nanowrimo, one of only 10% of those who attempted Nanowrimo. I did the same thing when I was “studying” for my black belt exams. I wrote out my kata and made sure I knew how to do it step by step.
That was not only a proud day for me but it was such a great motivation. I hope these will help you focus and get to work much harder on your future.
Please let me know if this helped you. Comment and let me know what you think of my guidelines.