Another term I seem to be coining here. A quick google search for “New Project Momentum” brought back multiple results discussing businesses called “Project Momentum” or how to sustain “project momentum” over the course of one project.
But NPM (coining it here first, folks) is what happens when you finish up and roll from one project into the next one.
…I really should be keeping track of all the phrases I’m making up on here…
Last Saturday I finally finished up Project: GREY’s new draft.
Coming in at just under 41,000 words and capping out at 200 pages long, it’s now going to enter into (technically) what I call 2nd draft edits. This means I print it out and, with a good old fashioned red pen (mine is a Pokemon Center Japan exclusive Poké Ball Pilot Frixion Red erasable pen, whatever, brag), go through and mark up what works, what doesn’t, what typos I notice, what plot points don’t line up with what came before, and so on. Then, with that edited copy, I’ll type copy over those edits into the Word document, while continuously adding on any changes or fixes I see. This will create a 3rd draft for me.
That’s when the Beta Readers come in. We’re not there yet, though, because the printed up copy of Project: GREY is sitting on shelf under my desk, where I don’t plan on looking at it until July.
Because Project: DEED, my middle-grade realistic fantasy, is now open and ready to be worked on. I’m feeling the New Project Momentum I wast just talking about and I can’t wait to use it.
NPM is tough to describe, but easy to explain.
Let me show you: When I read a book the beginning is usually where I’m reading the slowest. I’m figuring out the characters, the author’s writing style, and if I want to stick around till the end. Those first, let’s say, 300 pages will take me 3 weeks to get through. If I stick with it, though, then then last 100 pages I can read in 3 days, probably less, because all the momentum I’ve built up over the last few weeks is now rushing forward. I HAVE to get to the next page, then the next, and so on so forth. I’m reading everywhere. The breakfast table, when I’m rocking the boys to sleep at night (if I’m reading on my Kindle), wherever. That book is getting READ.
And a similar thing happens when I’m writing, too. I’ve noticed the rare times I actually do go all the way on a writing project to the very end there’s a similar rush I feel. Suddenly, I can’t wait to get to the keyboard and start typing again. This is as opposed to how I usually am, which is avoiding my writing work all day like a plague except the plague is really a bunch of rats in a trench coat offering me questionable candy out of their more questionable van.
I’m rushing to get to my keyboard, every day, and that’s a rare commodity. It’s Momentum. And, like a magical glowing orb of energy being passed around from character to character in DragonBall Z, you need to USE IT.
See, that momentum can’t be artificially generated. That rush, that creative push you feel, it comes only from doing the thing you love most: CREATING. So, when you get that feeling, that energetic charge, you need to use it if you want to get a head-full-of-steam start on your next project. But how?
Here’s what I’ve done/am doing, broken down into a not even number of steps to make it as tricky as possible:
- Acknowledge Your Awesomeness: You just finished a huge writing/art/music project! Congratulations! You’ve done what millions upon billions of other people HAVE NOT DONE and that makes you powerful.
- Do Something With That High: We took our twin boys to the bookstore for the first time on Saturday. We’re vaccinated and the entire store was socially distant, so that was fun. And rewarding. Reward yourself.
- Put The Old Project Away: Like I said, GREY is going to sit on a shelf under my desk for a few weeks. I’ll get back to it, but I don’t want to think about it for a while to keep my mind clear for what’s coming.
- Give Yourself A Break: Momentum is powerful, yes, but like any form of fuel too much of it can burn you out. Wreck the engine. Stop the plane? Whatever. The point is that the momentum won’t go away if you take a little time off. How much time, though?
- Pace Out Your Start: I finished Project: GREY and took Sunday and Monday off. Sunday was my day off and Monday was a holiday. I wasn’t going to get any writing done on a holiday with family over, so today, Tuesday, is the day to begin the next writing project.
- Acknowledge Your Awesomeness Again You Rocking Thunder Giant: Don’t forget what you just did. And remind yourself that you can do it once more.
- Get. Started.: This one is important because if you wait to long, guess what happens to all that NPM? It dissipates, going back into the void of nothing that you built it up from.
New Project Momentum is a gift you’ve given to yourself, and all you have to do is nurture it a little bit and it’ll keep you sustained for the rest of your life.
I’m about to start writing Project: DEED. I’d ask for you to wish me luck, but I got momentum on my side.