Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

I posted recently on another blog about my feelings towards procrastination - that over the years, I've been lucky enough to develop a firm enough daily writing habit that I can (try, at least) not beat myself up about low productivity days ... because most of the time, when I take a break, I really need it, either to recharge my batteries or to mull over a plot point that isn't gelling.

I think my daily habit really took firm root when I was writing Blood From Stone. I did that as a journal in "real time" - if Shihyali didn't do anything for a week or two, there were no entries, but if several things happened in a single day, I typed like a madwoman for most of that day. So since it was so up-and-down by design, I didn't have a conscious idea how much I was producing.

Then I looked at my total wordcount and realized that in about two months, I'd amassed sixty thousand words. And that was in between writing my regular projects.

So ... a thousand words a day. I could do that with ease, and I set about doing it. I didn't maintain that goal indefinitely ... but that understanding of what I could accomplish with discipline blossomed for me in a lot of other ways. This also led to me doing a "boot camp" of a writing exercise a day, a training process I like to come back to occasionally. (Part of that was also finding the right exercise book, and I'm going to plug it again: The 3am Epiphany is a great book and flexible for any genre.)

I've turned a number of the exercises into stories or stolen the characters to do the same. Published stories are Instructions For An Initiate (Golden Visions), In These Shoes (Staffs and Starships) and Precious Cargo (Space Sirens). Finished but not sold are Super Solutions, Election and Shadow Play. (Yes. That Novella I keep whining about.) I've done boot camps from The 3am Epiphany, Creating Character Emotions, short screen scripts, descriptions using the word of the day, and random line + oracular card.

The upshot being that this not only helped me get into a consistent, reliable groove, but I got some good stories out of it, too.

This has been one of those rough weeks. I'd say it's been pretty epic: I'm going to remember the couple weeks from St. Patrick's Day, 2010, for a long time. But I know even when I can't work that my writing is waiting for me. It took a lot of effort to build up the relationship, but I can be relaxed that it won't fade ... even when I want to shout at myself for watching Cutthroat Island or Harry Potter (ahem) instead of writing.


sarahjayne smythe said...

What a great post. And how wonderful that even in spite of bad things happening, (I'm sorry for those), you have the strength of what you've worked so hard for to buoy you.

Saumya said...

It is so nice to read your blog. I am an aspiring novelist who is always looking to connect with other writers. Keep up your amazing talents!

Lindsey Duncan said...

Thanks to you both! And hi, Saumya. :-)

Aubrie said...

I try for a thousand words a day. I think it's a good goal. :) Sometimes I don't make it when flute gets in the way, but oh well.