It’s taken me a little while, but I’m finally recovered from my recent four months of nonstop deadlines.
And I’m ready now to plunge back into seriously writing.
I intend for this year to be a really productive year when it comes to my writing. Last night, I came across this post at Dean Wesley Smith’s blog: New World of Publishing: Speed, and I realized the fact that I write so quickly is something to celebrate.
So I’m celebrating! And coupling the celebration with a new intention: I’m going to see how many novels I can get down on paper (metaphorically speaking) this year.
I’ve written about 280,000 words of fiction in the past two years, 180,000 of which came about in spare bits of time, the other 100,000 during NaNoWriMo 2009 and 2010. This year, I will be setting aside longer chunks of time in which to write.
Yes, the 20-minutes-a-day goal did work well for me. I normally get down about 1000 words in a 20 to 30 minute period. But I want to do more than that.
So what could I do if I sat down and wrote for a couple of hours every day? A couple of hours at the very least? That’s the question I’m going to answer this year.
I’m also going to motor through what, in the past, has been a major stumbling block for me: the midpoint of each novel. There are a few things that might help me when I get to this point.
I don’t outline, because I really love sitting down and just writing and seeing what comes. Sitting down, and making things up as I go, works really well to get me to the midway point of a novel. But then I reach the middle, and it gets difficult to make myself sit down and keep writing.
I don’t want to start outlining. I’ve done it before, and it just doesn’t work for me.
So one thing I’m going to try is the method that David Morrell describes in Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing: A Novelist Looks at His Craft (the updated – and available – version of this book is The Successful Novelist).
I just finished doing a quick reread of this book earlier this week, and this is what I posted to GoodReads:
Just finished a quick reread of this one (I skimmed most of the chapters, but thoroughly read the chapters on getting focused and dealing with writer’s block).
The first time I read this book, I was really taken with Morrell’s idea of a written conversation with yourself about your book idea, rather than an outline or winging it. I’ve never tried his method, but the idea feels as fresh and inviting to me today as it did the last time I read the book.
I am still very taken with this idea of having a written conversation with myself about each book I write. It’s not the same as outlining, but I really feel it will give me the extra guidance I need when I reach the dreaded middle of each WIP.
All you do is sit down, with a new Word file in front of you, and start a conversation with yourself about the idea that you have. You keep yourself writing by asking “So what?” and “Why?”; by doing this, you explore all the avenues open to you, and you also capture in words the very essence of what it is about the idea that excited you in the first case:
Instead of waiting to write until you’ve thought through an idea, why not write as you think? The format is a conversation with yourself … It encourages you to delve below the surfaces of a conventional outline so that a richer book has the potential to be written. It provides a record of the psychological process by which you worked out the story, and thus, if overfamiliarity causes you to lose your enthusiasm for the story, all you need do is reread the document and reacquaint yourself with the chain of thought that made you excited in the first place. Further, it allows you to have a conversation about the story without the risk of your best ideas ending in the air or of your conversation providing a release that takes away the pressure to write, for in this case, the conversation occurs as you write, and the person you’re talking to is your alter ego.
This makes so much sense to me, especially the part about overfamiliarity causing me to lose my enthusiasm for the story. When I reach that dreaded middle of each WIP, if I could find a way to access that initial excitement I had, it would be easy to keep writing.
I know this, because there is another thing that works for me; it’s something I’ve been resisting doing, because I really love writing with absolutely no rereading of what I’ve written, not until I’ve finished the ms and put it aside to mature for a while. When I do this (well, okay, I’ve done it once), I feel like I’m reading the book for the first time (because I am).
But yes, I have succumbed, a few times, to temptation and read through what I’d already written, before I was anywhere near the end. And inevitably, I turn that last page and am so disappointed that I hadn’t written more, because I want to find out what happens. And when I feel like that, it is very very easy to go back to the computer and keep writing.
Of course, there’s one other thing that might work. It could be, if I stuck to my guns and wrote for two or three hours a day, I’d be getting the story down so quickly, there wouldn’t be any time for overfamiliarity to develop and drag me down when I reach the middle.
Hmmm. That’s a thought, there, too!