Mark Noldy


Learning to Write in Fits and Starts

I am training myself to write in the time gaps of my typically choppy weekday schedule. The issue for me has not been a lack of total hours, but rather a lack of consecutive hours. My 2017 goal is to learn to play the hand I’ve been dealt and write as much as possible in spite of being sporadically busy. I’m pretty excited about writing a solid 3000 words last Monday through Friday. That is certainly not a lot of words for prolific full-time writers, but I am pleased given I work full-time and write in 30- to 60-minute fits and starts.

Here are three habits I am trying to make permanent.

1. Completing a story outline and doing research

The first two weeks of 2017 were spent studying story design and doing research. During the first week, I made an outline to make sure I had the essential story elements for a three-act story. The second week, I did a small amount of research necessary for the plot of the story to seem as realistic as possible. This past week has been my first full week of story writing.

2. Leaving the Scrivener file open on my MacBook

This really doesn’t save a ton of time in not having to launch the app. For me it’s sort of like laying out my gym clothes the night to make sure I get up at 3:00 am to go to the gym before an early morning 4:00-5:30 writing session. Both practices remove the initial obstacles that make it easier to stay in bed. Plus by leaving the app open, the Scrivener icon one the right side of the dock leaves a constant reminder that I have some writing to do. (It was staring up at me yesterday as I wrote this post!)

3. Re-reading the previous half page

To maintain a modicum of writing flow, each morning I re-read the previous few paragraphs before immediately writing. This helped me plug back in mentally where the story had left off. If I can avoid it, I won’t stop writing in the midst of dialogue.

However, I have to force myself not to compulsively edit. Doing this slows me down. The more I learn, the more I realize that writers have to get the story out. They say there will be plenty of time for editing…

Here’s to great stories and true fans!

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