The Importance of Touching Projects Daily

One thing I noticed this spring, when I finally went back to the novel I had been writing for 15 months, which I abandoned to NaNo and then to finish my NaNo project, was how out of the rhythm I felt. I couldn’t quite grasp the pace of the story, the flow of the text. I said to myself then that I would not abandon a project in the middle again unless I meant never to finish it at all. Even if something else came to the forefront, a la focusing in November on a new story, that I would nonetheless keep a finger dipped into the stream of the other story.

I am noticing in microcosm the difference in my ability to just sit down and work if I write a little bit every day or if I go several days in between writing blocks.

I pretty well abandoned the “write a lot of little bits every day” attempt because I hit a section I just didn’t know how to work through, and, as an INTJ and a non-pantser, I just cannot write blindly. I paralyze; words literally do not come if I can’t see at least a few steps in front of me to know which direction to head. I think I am almost through that section, because suddenly I am finding it easier to just sit down and start writing (as opposed to having to read a lot of what I wrote previously to reorient myself in the story), and move forward.

The sewing project is continuing to be a good analog for my novel-writing. I am still struggling over the pattern, which has progressed from flat patterns to cloth patterns that are constructed and being adjusted piece by piece against my actual body to get the fit I want. I have found that if I take more than a day or two off from working at the project, then it feels overwhelming to go back to. I have to sit there and really think back through what I did previously, what I tried and what I had to change, and read through all the notes and lines marked on the fabric itself in order to begin moving forward again.

So perhaps there is something to the idea that writing a little bit every day is the most productive way to write a novel. If you do, then you don’t lose the timing of the dance and don’t have to waste time figuring out where you’re supposed to be or what you’re supposed to be doing.

I am going to try for at least a couple sessions every day again. If nothing else, this way I won’t lose track of what I’m doing, even if I get stuck again.

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