Mechanics


You’ve chosen your topic, you know who your reader is, and you know what journey you are taking them on. Tomorrow’s the day. You’re going to start writing your book.

It’s pretty exciting.

You should get a little organized and make some final decisions today.

Are you going to write in public or in private? If you want people to be able to follow along then you should create a blog or use an existing blog to post your prose to every day. Put some sort of disclaimer or explanation there today letting people know that what you post is not a finished work, it is an initial draft. Let them know that you are experimenting with ideas and style.

Even after you’ve set your blog readers’ expectations, you may not want to enable comments on your blog for this next month. Readers can be wonderful and they may give you a lot of support and encouragement.

They can also be distracting, discouraging, or down-right mean. Someone may innocently ask, "hey, have you ever thought of …" and off you go like a dog after a squirrel forgetting what you were engaged in before the squirrel wandered by. Someone else might take exception with the way you’ve explained something or point to another site where someone else, in their opinion, is doing a much better job. As for mean, you’ll be amazed at the comments some people will come at you with.

I tend to leave the comments on and I never respond to them. I always feel that the comment section is where the readers get to talk amongst themselves. If you turn the comments off, people still feel the same way, they just can’t express it directly on your site. That’s ok — you will have to deal with public comments about your work at some point but now might not be the time.

If you decide to write publicly, please post a link below so that we can follow your progress.

If you don’t want to write in public, I’d still like to hear how you are doing. I think it helps you to have to report back in each day and let us know how much your wrote, how much you have total and how it went.

People I follow on Twitter do that for running, exercising, losing weight and other activities where they need to engage in regular practice. I can easily ignore it if I want but I do notice the day feels different if someone who works out daily misses a day.

I used to meet a friend at the gym and our rule was "if you can’t make it, don’t let me know." If I knew he wasn’t going to show up then it would have been easy for me not to show up. Your daily reports of writing will help other people keep writing as well.

If you are on Twitter, just tweet when you have finished your writing for the day. Use the tag #pragprowrimo and let us know what you wrote and how it went.

If you’re not on Twitter go ahead and post your progress in the comments to this blog. Somewhere you need to declare what you’ve done. It will keep you writing.

The only rule is to keep writing. Other than that, have fun and check back in with us to let us know how it’s going.

Your task for today is to set up your writing environment so that tomorrow you can get started on your book.

This post originally appeared in the Pragmatic Life blog.