Anyway, I gave her some tools I've used in the past and continue to use even now. I thought they might help others too, so I decided to post them here. Good luck to any of you out there in cyberland who might be on this very same journey. I know I am.
THINGS TO MAKE IT TO THE END:
- Set a deadline and make it firm. You get your school assignments in on time, so set a reasonable deadline for your novel and treat it as seriously as your school assignment.
- Add writing to your schedule. Writers don't have time to wait for inspiration. You need to make your own by just making the time. An hour at the minimum (as it often takes fifteen minutes or more just to get back into the flow). Plan for three or four times a week, one to three hours at a go. Just like you plan homework time, work time, and family time - plan writing time too.
- Earplugs or noise canceling headphones are a thing. Get rid of the distractions. Turn off your Bluetooth so you can't access the internet unless you are doing research. Listen to instrumentals if that helps you focus and keeps the family noise out of your head (I'm talking about my house here). Shut the blinds if you need to. Do whatever it takes to make your novel is the only thing going. Also, get snacks and drinks ahead of time so you don't have to get up for sustenance. You don't want to break the spell.
- Ask for respect. Let your family know that it is now writing time and you will be busy for the next hour or two. Put a sign on your door informing them that you are currently unavailable. Do whatever you need to do to get some privacy and space.
- Write everywhere. Take a notebook and work on scenes that you can (even out of order) in your notebook when you are waiting for the bus, having lunch, or whatever. Your notebook can travel, and there are always times when you aren't doing anything for a few minutes and can jot down some rough dialogue or work out a sticky bit of plotting.
- If you aren't writing, think about your novel. Always write, even if it's in your head. I do it while cooking and doing dishes. Sometimes even in the shower. That way when you do get time at the keyboard, things are pretty much ready to go.
- Set a word or chapter goal for each writing session. A lot of professional writers do this and it helps them meet deadlines.
It's hard to keep up the go, go, go in a novel that takes a long time, but you can do it. Just keep plugging away and it will be done quicker than you think.