April 11, 2003

Finding discipline

Once again today I hit Forward Motion and answered the question: How do you find the fire to sit down and actually write?

Okay, so its hard to write a lot. I'm in awe of some of the people that write MASSIVE amounts, but I still get through two novels a year, so I have so ability at it.

First I find it easier if I have a scene in mind to write. Pre-writing basically while I'm washing dishes, taking shower, whatever have you. So when I turn on the computer and go at it, I have stuff already poised in my brain.

Cold starts are harder. One trick that works for me is to have a little ritual. I pull up the stuff I wrote yesterday, read it over, make little edit changes, and when I get to the end, move into the new stuff. Usually this is enough to kick start me.

When I get really stuck, I jump ahead and write something fun. Not recommended for everyone, but it works for me. The fight scene not coming? I put in (They fight, x lives, y dies) and move on to the aftermath.

If I'm really really really stuck, I do a form of mega outlining where I sketch out the next chapter with:

x enters
"Dialogue bits"
Description bit.
More action.

For example:

Atticus talks to Ukiah -- sitting someplace unusual like a roof or a tree or something.

“Do you live in x?”

“y.” (Atticus realizes that Ukiah used Ru's cell phone in guess.) “Ru and I have a z. (house? condo?) We both would like to get a dog, but we’re not home enough…”

Exchanging little bits of information seemed so inadequate to bridge the gulf between them. So he wanted a dog – who wouldn’t? What did actually say about him? How much more would the breed of dog add to Ukiah understanding him?


When I started to write, I basically had to say starting at 10:00 pm, I'd work until I dropped, which was about 2:00 a.m. It was hard because I was tired. Now that my son is in school, I rarely work evenings. I now work 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 pm. While some days I get loads done, others I only go back and fill little holes because I don't seem to have the creative drive to spin the new stuff. But that's fine, because I'm still writing.

Posted by wen at April 11, 2003 09:38 PM