September 08, 2012

Knowing your habits / nature

There are plenty of posts about sticking to one project till the end, before starting a new. And that you should have perseverance and it will get you nowhere if you just jump around projects, whenever you feel like it. You should do this. You should do that. Because that's how it works for me, so it should work for you, too.

No way. Everyone's different (which is a good thing, otherwise, this planet would be a really boring place to be), with different tempers, with different priorities and with different habits. What works for one, not neccessarily work for another.
It's been a long time since I've ignored all other projects in favour of one and been stuck with it for months. I was 13-14 at the time, the very beginning of discovering the art of writing and with different circumstances.
But during the years, I've changed and developed my writing style, my habits, etc. And I realized my relation to writing is reflected in my other habits. For example, running. At first, I start with a sudden burst of speed, then slow down, almost walking when I'm tired. I don't stop. Then, when I gathered some energy, I put on another burst of speed. Then slow down again. And so on, until I get to the goalline. Meanwhile, giving myself mental pep-talks.
I've noticed the same in my writing habits: some days, I write tons of words. Other days, I only write a few, or nothing, at all (I mean, related to my writing-projects - I don't count e-mails and replies and such in this). Then I write tons, again. I've been working to try to go at a steady pace, but it's just not in my nature. And if it's against one's nature, it's bound not to work as effectively as the other method, which might not be the most 'effective' in the eyes of others, but it is true to one's nature, and so, easier to adapt.

And recently, I've realized, this unfrequent habit of mine can also be found in what I write. Oh, don't get me wrong; I usually stay in the same genre, as I've learnt it early that if I write something outside of that, it just makes me suffer. I mean, it's hard for me to stick to one project and ignore all other ideas I had in my head, until I finish the current one.
I've tried. I've done NaNoWriMo thrice so far, and that's when I've picked up the habit of sketching down other ideas that may come to me during November and put it in a folder, together with other ideas, for later and that helped on concentrating my NaNovel.
BUT. The last few months (since I've started ROW80 in January) made me realize that I still can't just shrug off my habit of working on several piece at the same time. And I jump around from project to project when I reach a certain amount of words in one. I don't know why, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing, because when I do finish my WIP, I'll finish with another soon and maybe a third one, too.
So unpredictable habits can have a positive side-effect.

With this, I kindly thank you November and let it be the only month I focus on one project for more than 50k words at once. In the rest of the year, I'll just stick to my own writing habits :)

PS.: I've started this post in the middle of June and finished it today. Brilliant representation of my writing habits, no? :'D

Do you try to stick to the 'guidelines' other people think is the 'best way'? (Whether it be writing or anything else.) Or do you enjoy it more when you just do your own thing? What are your experiences?


Heather Heinzer said...

Right now, I'm just trying to form habits related to writing. I took two years off from any sort of writing project and spent my time babbling on my "main" blog. But now, that's not enough for me. Blogging, while fun, isn't something that is going to lead me to the feeling of completion.

Since I'm trying to figure it out, I love reading posts like yours, where I can learn about what is working (or not) for other people.

Tika said...

I'm glad you found it useful :)

Actually, I had a 2-3 years period where I hardly wrote anything (not even blogposts) and I really missed writing, so I can relate to your situation, I think.

I suggest you look at your other habits. For example, do you tend to concentrate on one thing for a long time? Do you slowly, but consistently do it?
Or do you have sudden burts of speed and jump between one thing and another, then to a third one?! (Like me xD)

If you can figure out what is the easiest way for you, then you're that much closer to figure out which method works for you when you write.
Or you can just try each of them and decide later.
The most important thing is (IMHO), is not to feel guilty, just because something else works for you than for the majority. And write. Just start :)