Welcome to HerdingTheDragon.com!

I'm a writer, a freelancer, a crafter, a nail polish mixatrix, a tea drinker, an unconventional life-liver, a journaling junkie, an introvert, a chronic-pain-sufferer, an idealist, a geek, a TV-lover. Welcome to my corner of the web!

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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Writing tips and tricks - Do you have a notebook on you yet?

Okay, so I got a job, right? I like it, and it's not that hard (though it's physically demanding, being waitstaff), I've made friends, I'm making a much steadier income than I did depending on selling stories and nail polish*, and my whole world isn't confined to the five-by-five space where my desk is anymore, which is great.

But man does it make writing hard.

I work almost every day at the restaurant, and business is picking up as we creep closer to the end of the year, and each shift is bracketed by travel time on public transport. So my old tactic of waiting until something occurs to me to write isn't working, and I've had to come up with new ways to keep myself going. I thought maybe they could help you guys who write come up with your own tricks.

Trick number One:
I keep my writing notebook on me all the time

This seems like it'd be obvious, and it's definitely something that people have been saying forever, but damn does it make a difference. Before, I had a writing folder, but it was actually a separate notebook or folder or computer file for everything I was working on. Which, you know, hard to carry everywhere.

Now, it's only two: I have a composition book in the bag I carry all my stuff** back and forth to work in, and almost everything goes in there, and I have a mini-comp book that fits in my purse for the few times I'm out in the world without my work bag. 

I'm not the sort to focus entirely on one project only, but I am the type to hand write everything first, so an actual physical notebook is good for me, and it's made all the difference between when I was sitting in front of my computer all week and not writing much, and now when I have very limited time and energy and have more to say. I give each new thing a new page so that I can just flip through and find where I am and what I'm doing. I use page flags to keep track of the important pages. I'm probably going to have to make an index or a list of what's in there soon. And I end each writing session with a little note on what I think I'll do next so it's easier to get back into it.

I used to have daily and weekly goals for how many words or pages, but right now I'm just calling it good if I write anything at all, and try to fill whatever one page I'm on (though my old habit of four pages a day happens on it's own more than I'd thought it would***). 

It's not a super fast way to write, but at least something is getting written!

As far as building a new system and a new habit, I think it's okay.

Do you have a writer's notebook? How do you use it? 

* Especially since selling stories requires finishing stories and I haven't done that in flipping ages, and my nail polish shop is sort of sleeping right now...
** "Stuff" currently: my apron and order book, whatever book(s) I'm reading each week, snacks, my makeup bag, basic journal-decorating supplies whether I bring my journal or not, phone charger, sometimes a change of clothes or a sweater or something. I love my Cat & Jack bag meant for first graders.
*** I guess in two writing-based degrees and the years between them, I've pretty effectively trained my brain to crank out about a thousand words at a go. Now if only I had something to say every time I sat down!

- Today's change: pick an old tip and make it your own!

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