One way to fit a full-time writing career into a full-time life is by drafting 3,000 words a week. (See “Writing Time: Doing the Math.”)
There are few things finer than the feeling of getting somewhere.
Taking ten minutes during a busy working week to prepare for deep-focus drafting on the weekend can give us more time and better ideas when we settle in to write. Some of us do love to write by the seat of our pants, and there’s a splendid sense of freedom to be enjoyed there, but for writers aiming for a tight first draft, here are three 10-minute exercises to nail or noodle on during the week, in order to prepare for the weekend’s drafting time.
- 10 minutes: Write out the whole story, a chapter, or a scene, in 3 sentences – beginning, middle, and end. Thinking about the transfer of power from one character to another is useful here.
- 10 minutes: Write out a list of several characters’ good traits and opposite or bad traits. “Mr Bennett loves his daughters but does not protect them.” “Mrs Bennett is a stupid woman who always gets what she wants.”
- 10 minutes: Brainstorm a turning point in the tale. That is, write down 10-12 ways that the main character could meet the love interest, or 15-20 places where he might find the sword or 15-20 things she might say when refusing the call to adventure. The first five will come easily but after that a brain is digging deep.
Nobody can make writers outline, but nobody can stop us either. Small blocks of time invested through the week can return great rewards in narrative strength.