This tip I gleaned from author Katherine Paterson. Her books The Spying Heart and The Gates of Excellenceare wonderful collections of essays on writing for children. Ms. Paterson explains that her method is to write two pages per day, every day. I adapted this as follows:I don't write every day because I also teach part-time. But on my writing days, I sit down at the keyboard in the morning and I don't get up until I've written at least two pages.Ms. Paterson doesn't say if she means single- or double-spaced—so I decided on double-spacing! That's about 500 words, which works well for me. Others may find a page count or an amount of time more useful. Still others write when the muse strikes them (but I'd be waiting until doomsday if I tried that approach). Find what works for you.On bad days, I might get 480 words written and throw them all away the next day. (My theory there is, I figure I'm getting all the awful stuff out of me ...) On good days, two pages becomes twenty. But—and this is key—when I sit down to write I never know for sure which kind of day it's going to become. I do my two pages no matter how crummy I feel about writing that day ... and when I'm lucky, the act of writing itself turns the day into a good one.
copyright@2000 Linda Sue Park and used by permission