Since outlining a long-dormant story, I’ve been challenging myself to build some habits and actually write the story. Sure, writing about writing is great, and planning your writing is great, but actually doing the writing is clearly the goal here.
Perhaps the hardest thing for me has been pinning down the characters. These are people, with thoughts and emotions and goals, that I’m trying to transcribe from my head onto a page. In the past, I’ve always struggled to keep my characters consistent and believable, and the times when I could truly write from inside their head were rare.
Daily writing goes a long way to combat that, though. When I sit down each morning (or nearly every morning — it’s still a developing habit), the characters are fresh in my mind from the last time I wrote. Not only do I keep a better handle on what they are like, but I can remember the previous pieces I’ve written, and keep the story consistent within itself. Zaciré and the others are all there, waiting patiently inside my notebook.
I can only grab about twenty minutes a day, so by no means is this a NaNo-pace of writing. But even so, it’s slow and steady. Each day, when I stop, I write down in pencil two or three sentences that map out where I’m planning to go the next day. This lets me get started writing immediately each morning, and keeps my bigger outline in sight.
I’d highly recommend writing daily, or at least regularly. Wring the words out, write an outline if you have to, but get the book written. Surf the wave, keep everything fresh in your mind, and write the book bit by bit, day by day.