…read a lot and write a lot.

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
― Kurt Vonnegut

thingstodoThis should come as no surprise to anyone that knows me, but I enjoy writing. But as with many of my hobbies I enjoy it if it is quick and efficient. Some other hobbies this can relate to: knitting, I enjoy it if it is a quick and easy pattern like finger-less mittens (which I have the pattern in my head), scarfs, hats, dishcloths, and grocery bags. Things that don’t take much time and I can memorize or makeup the pattern. Baking is another one with the same concept. Quick and easy deserts where I can throw things in without measuring and see what comes out. Things I have ended up doing this way include cupcakes with various things baked in the middle like cookies, caramels, and other yummy and most likely unhealthy things!

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
― Stephen King

Well the reading part I have down perfectly. I already read a lot! But like with all my other hobbies I did writing in spurts. Sometimes I would be really into it and then my interest would wane and months later I would come back and be really interested in it again. As my roommate Mandi has said, I have the attention span of a squirrel. Which I don’t think is very .. oh look, something shiny!

“So okay – there you are in your room with the shade down and the door shut and the plug pulled out of the base of the telephone. You’ve blown up your TV and committed yourself to a thousand words a day, come hell or high water. Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want. ”
― Stephen KingOn Writing

To get back to the writing. I have been writing this specific book since last year and I feel really good about it. It suits me and is about a subject I am interested in. I started it while I was in South Korea and took a break from it when I got back to the States and recently started back on it. I decided this time I need to buckle down and give myself a plan. I like things with a plan that I can follow. I have been doing a lot of mapping out the story line and mapping out the physical locations in the book and mapping out the characters and not so much writing. I tend to write scenes and not in any specific order, so stuff is all over the place right now! I also want to make it a series so I have been trying to find what the THING is that happens in each book. So with all these concepts and ideas written down somewhere (usually various pieces of scrap paper) I needed to get to work on more actual story words! So I decided to follow the advice of one of my favorite writers and write a thousand words a day. I am not being a stickler on EXACTLY a thousand. But I am going to try for on or just past the thousand mark each day.

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
― J.D. SalingerThe Catcher in the Rye

p.s. By the way that was 446 words excluding the quotes. Lucky for me I already wrote a thousand words for the book this morning!

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5 thoughts on “…read a lot and write a lot.

  1. Just keep writing, dude. You’ve got a great “voice”. Don’t worry so much about what happens next in the book. Your characters will take you where they want to go. You say you want to make this a series, so all you have to know about the end is that the hero lives and there is something left unresolved. You can waste years doing research and making notes and drawing maps–it’s like cleaning your room instead of studying when it’s finals week. Do all that shit, but do your thousand words. And no, blogging doesn’t count! Write that fucker!

  2. If the thousand words a day thing just doesn’t work for you, don’t worry too much as it’s only one way of writing. I tend to follow a ‘procrastinate and binge’ approach. This means that some days I won’t really do anything other than mess around on the internet, clean the house, watch the grass grow and other such important things but when I finally get started, I’ll clear my diary of everything else and write five thousands words a day for anything up to a week. I usually only stop when I come to a natural break in my story and I’ll leave it aside for a bit as my writing batteries recharge and I spend some more time procrastinating. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it works for me and I usually get a book finished in about the same length of time as the ‘thousand a day’ers. Of course, you also have to the discipline to make sure that the procrastination phases between writing ‘binges’ don’t last too long!

    • Thanks for the advice! I was kind of doing that before but then my distractions kept getting longer and longer. I need to try out the discipline for a while and see how that goes! I will most likely end up back with the “procrastinate and binge!”

      • Yeah, you have to try out a few different styles before you find out what works for you. Oddly, the ‘procrastinate and binge’ approach often requires more discipline that the ‘thousand words a day’ one. This is because it’s much harder to know when you really need to buckle down and do some writing versus doing a little every day. Also, it’s useful if you can make your procrastination work for you and not against you so you always make sure that you feel like you’ve achieved something at the end of the day (even if it’s just a little something!). As I said, it might not work for everyone but it seems to work for me.

        Good luck with your writing.

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