What a challenge! Oh my gosh, that was really difficult.
Things I learned:
1) I’m a good prep/planner. I had everything I needed for the whole weekend. I planned to ‘let things slide’ so when I hit lulls in the day and started to look around the room for things to do, ie. procrastinate, I was able to stop myself and say “No, you’re not doing any of that this weekend. Sit back down. Write something.”
2) I’m rebellious. I made a list of scenes that need to be written or fleshed out. So naturally given all the time I had, I didn’t write any of them.
3) Getting in “the zone” is crucial. I did a lot of groping, of trying to write. Then suddenly a spark of something would shoot me into “the zone”. Time flew by, my fingers scurried over the keyboard and the majority of the FAST DRAFT flowed out of me.
4) Forcing it doesn’t work. I began to crave “the zone”. Anything less and I was quickly spiraling into negative thinking.
5) Its necessary to use psychology. I made-up easily accomplishable goals and picked a reward to combat the negativity, refocus, and get the fun back. Examples: Revise a scene for five minutes = sip of Starbucks mocha Frappacino from the fridge. Describe 10 things that are in this scene’s setting = pester my sleeping cat for a couple minutes. Often I wrote past the goal requirement, which made me feel real good and pulled me out of the negative funk.
6) Treat it like a job. Take breaks. I get an hour for lunch at my day-job. I’m expected to work the other eight hours. I planned to work ALL day though so I gave myself more leeway. But never break longer than ten minutes.
7) Severely limit reading. I pulled down how-to books and my favorite fiction titles, hoping to be launched into “the zone” again. Only do this if you can limit reading to five minutes max, the risk is getting sucked in and procrastinating.
8) FAST DRAFT works best with a new idea. My story is already structured. The manuscript needs to be fleshed out and revised. I think FAST DRAFT works better when you are creating the plot.
My big takeaway from the challenge is I now know why I have 12 other partial stories hidden in a box. With those stories I hit a wall regarding structure. I had tons a material but was never able to pull the material apart and puzzle it back together in a meaningful way.
Getting fed up with how many almost-stories I have, I vowed to finish the Heyswood story before moving onto a new romance couple. Last Friday I finished the structure puzzle, my first time EVER completing a story’s entire structure puzzle to my satisfaction. I didn’t realize how important that was until Sunday. I’m in new territory. Now I need to complete revisions for the entire story to my satisfaction. It’s a big next step.