Some days I have no time to write.
Some days I have hours to write and can lay down over 2,000 words. Or I can read and heavily revise two or more chapters. I really lose myself in the story and just let it flow.
But other days are busy and it seems I have no time to write.
That’s actually not true. Even though I may not have hours to write a lot of words for my story, I have time to work on my story. There are numerous short tasks writers can do to improve their stories and manuscripts and novels even if you only have 15 minutes.
Take a look at this stream. Sometimes it’s rushing and deep, traveling through the farms and fields. Sometimes it narrows to a little trickle, barely a thread of water snaking between the banks.
Whether its wide and deep or shallow and tight, the stream keeps going. Like you, writer.
Some days you’re the rushing flood, some days you’re the persistent trickle. Either way, you’re moving forward.
Here’s a list.
No Time to Write Tasks
- Write out your character’s appearance.
- Write out the appearance of your secondary characters.
- Check how many exclamation marks you have used and delete at least 2/3.
- Draw a map of your story world.
- Fill out character background sheets.
- Think of sensory details to add in to your story.
- Work on your tagline or logline.
- Look for comps for your story.
- Check for adverbs. Remove some.
- Show instead of tell. Search for “I felt” sentences and rewrite some.
- Write with action. Check for “I started” sentences and just start.
- Pick a scene and make sure there are three senses identified.
- Read a chapter and check for transitions.
- Do the ends of scenes and chapters hook readers?
- Summarize your story from the antagonist point of view.
Several of these ideas came from my recent workshop at the Highlights Foundation. I spent a great four days learning from K.L. Going and Clara Gillow Clark. They hosted the “Novel Beginnings” workshop and critiqued the first 50 pages of our novels. We also discussed craft, voice, most common mistakes, emotions, movies, layering and so much more.