I’m not going to do a video because I burned through all of my StayFocusd time.
(StayFocusd is a Chrome extension that helps you limit your goofing around time)
I do have some updates, though, that are good news!
Sundays with Tatiana
My graphic designing friend and I have decided to make Sundays a creative day. We’re going to hang out at her place where it’s quiet. She has projects to work on and I have projects to work on. We put on some background TV and get work done with minimal distractions. It’s good to around someone who is taking their creative endeavors seriously. I am actually productive when we hang out.
On that note, we started watching Westworld (HIGHLY recommend).
I recently read this article about Stephen King’s writing habits. Everything on the list makes sense. I list the 13 secrets in the article here, and I’ll italicize the ones I’m working on and bold the ones I’m comfortable with already:
- 1000 words a day, every single day, no matter what.
- Combine unlikely connections (like Westworld’s Western theme and AI, for example)
- Great opening lines
- Recuperation time after finishing a project
- Read a lot
- Finish a draft in three months or less
- Keep your purpose in mind (hint: it isn’t money)
- Use personal experiences to make it real, and then make it more real
- Form routines, and make ‘writing time’ a ritual that trains your brain to write.
- Appreciate all forms of feedback
- Write how you want and don’t shy away from anything
- Keep it simple enough to set a scene, but leave enough for the reader to fill in
- Remove all distractions. Isolate yourself with the story.
Right now, my biggest focus is to write SOMETHING every day. I count it if I’m editing, though. Editing is much slower than writing and doesn’t add a lot of new words, but I’m generally happy if I’ve stayed on task and made significant progress, so I don’t mind. I’m on a roll right now!
Forming healthy, consistent habits has always been a challenge though. The fever of NaNo gives way to the lethargy of winter, and by spring I’m just in Fuck It Mode. I need to keep at it. Practice puts me at my best level of skill, and I do have a lot of great ideas that I make excuses to avoid. It’s always daunting once I get to the middle of a project, and it’s too easy to walk away.
[GHISLAIN]; or, that smutteh novel I’ve been hinting at…
This book doesn’t have a title yet, but I have it saved under GHISLAIN, which is the name of the reaper/shinigami that haunts my main character.
I’ve been shifting tense from third person past to third person present. It fits the story a lot better and I like it. However, when you’ve written 30,000+ words, suddenly deciding to change your verb tense is labor intensive. I’ve spent several days on this now. I’ve added a few thousand words because I’m also editing a bit, but I definitely haven’t hit 1000 a day because it’s slower.
However, getting a closer look at it is making my heart happy. It’s in good shape to be what I want it to be.
And I’ve talked about it with a few people, and they seem pretty excited about the concept, so I’m motivated to work hard on it. I’m liking this project so far.
A Shiny for Trick
I mentioned a loooong time ago that this project was complete. Frankie and I have been tiptoeing around discussions regarding the cover. But, she’s been reading it and I got some good feedback, so now I’m feeling pretty confident about it.
We’re getting closer to publication on this one!
That’s all I’ve got for now. Back to work with me!
Check out the #SamWIP category every Monday to hear about Sam’s current projects!
#SamWIP on Monday, July 25
For starters, I want to apologize for completely forgetting about my #SamWIP on Monday. I think I got home at like…10 p.m.. Monday is the only day that I absolutely compose the post on the day of, to ensure I capture the full picture of a complete week. Several of these other posts I can compose and schedule ahead of time, as they refer to static incidences. Nonetheless, I do want to provide you with a full update of what I have been up to, but I think it will now have to wait until next Monday. Thank you for your patience!
#WriteTip: The Mythical ‘Time to Write’
I want to start this by being frank: ‘time to write’ simply does not exist. Stop looking for it. Stop waiting for it. Stop scheduling it and praying you are ready to write when it gets here.
I think this is the number one complaint I hear from any writer, even some of my more disciplined writing friends. You know who I don’t hear it from, though? People who regularly publish books. Veteran authors will still complain about the words eluding them, but I don’t often hear them bitch about not finding time to hone their craft. They have a stubbornness, one that separates them from people who “want to write a book someday…”
There is no time to write. Most of us are busy adults. We have friends, holidays, birthdays, kids, grandkids, weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, jobs, other hobbies, families, commute times, movies to watch, TV shows to binge watch, trips to take…Do you remember your last video game release? Your last new book release from your favorite author? When that last movie came out and you dropped everything and went? The time has to be made. It has to edge out all of the other supposedly important things in your life that are getting in the way. That extra time does not otherwise exist. There won’t ever be time for you to do that thing you have always wanted to do.
You just have to do it anyway.
There are no exceptions. Only excuses. Writers who have a story they love that simply must be written will find the time. Some days it will be pleasant. The stars will align, the sun will beam through the window and make your words look like God wrote them, the dogs and the kids will be silent and phone will never ring. Some days it will be miserable. You will stare at the page for hours and hate every single word that you write. But you have to put your butt in the chair and stare.
I once heard a story about a man who writes novels on his commute to work each morning. He only has fifteen minutes each way, but he puts down a handful of words at each trip, and eventually it adds up to a book. Parents with young children can write books. Nurses with busy schedules and long hours can write books. I can write books. You can write books.
It won’t be easy at first. This takes practice, discipline, training. Maybe start with a small exercise. Pick 10 new vocabulary words and write a sentence for each after you get home from work. Try some writing prompts. Set an alarm on your phone at the same time every day. Don’t make plans for that time. Scribble it on a post-it at work when the idea hits. Take a lunch break and free write. Swap out your news time with writing time. Get out if bed when that idea strikes (this, you will never regret). Stay up late. Get up early. Get in the habit of doing this every day. It will get easier.
And when it gets easier, your writing will improve, and it will accumulate. You’ll have a book in no time. And, if you keep at it, maybe someday it will be a good one.