After a year of focusing on my business and taking care of various family members, I’m working on re-developing a daily writing habit. It feels a bit like learning a new job. I notice resistance to the actual act of sitting my bum in my chair and writing. I also notice I’ve developed the attention span of a gnat.
In my life and business, I’m an incredible multitasker. I won’t go into the details in case you’ve read them before (see my post “How to reclaim your life and energy for your art”). But I’ve been finding that multitasking can actually make you less productive—especially if you’re an artist or a writer.
As Heather Sellers states in her book, Chapter after Chapter, writing is slow work. She relates it to the Slow Food Movement that was born to counter fast food chains taking over the world. Slow food is about being conscious of what you put in your mouth, of where your food is coming from, and whose pocket you are lining when you buy your food.
Writing is a conscious art form. Sure, we can whip off an e-mail or a blog post, but poetry, screen plays, and novels take time to develop. Art takes time. During your actual writing time, you can’t multitask, you have to slow down. Sellers says she can type 137 words-per-minute but it doesn’t mean they’ll be good words. It doesn’t mean they’ll be juicy words. She says writing isn’t typing. Read more
In a recent interview by Joel Chafetz, author Jack Remick, talked about how learning Natalie Goldberg’s timed writing technique totally changed his writing.
Remick who is a poet and author of the novel Blood, among other works, said he learned to use timed writing to craft his scenes. He breaks it down as follows for a 30-minute timed writing session:
- 5 minutes on setting, place, time, season, temperature
- 5 minutes on character description and problem
- 5 minutes on action and dialogue
- 5 minutes on Intruder
- 5 minutes on Climax and Resolution
- 5 minutes on Hook to the next scene down the line Read more
If you read my previous blog post, you know that my blogging buddy Carol and I are on a mission we’re calling the 10-Day Blitz. We kicked off the Blitz to push forward with our writing and project goals.
We’re huge fans of timed writes. It’s a way we focus and push ourselves to throw words down on the page. (It also works for other projects we want to complete.) Sometimes, we’re able to sit in the same room and write together, and other times we communicate via instant messages or e-mail. One of us sets the timer and notifies the other when to “go in” and when the time is up. This structure helps us focus and complete our writing and other projects. Read more
George Burns once said, “No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”
Here at OneWildWord we often write about the power of words. We know that one word can begin an entire avalanche of words.
But sometimes, even getting down a single word can be a challenge.
So, in my ongoing struggle to carve time out of my day for my writing and keep myself accountable, I started using a free service that Carly wrote about last year. At www.750words.com, the goal is to simply write 750 words per day. You receive points for each day you accomplish this goal and points for going over 750 words. Read more
A friend once told me that the best way to stop a bad habit was to replace it with a good one. At the time, she was trying to eat healthier and lose a few pounds. She said she found that trying to eliminate certain foods from her diet just made her want to eat more of them. She struggled with losing weight for years.
One day, she decided that instead of restricting her diet, she would add to it–healthy snacks and foods, including a plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables. A few of her goals: drink a green smoothie in the morning, eat vegetables at every meal, eat at least one salad a day, and snack on apples between meals. Read more
“Start a story now before your mouth talks it away.”
I love this line from the blog of authors and writing mentors Robert Ray and Jack Remick. Sometimes, authors do talk too much about their works-in-progress. We talk about not having enough time to write. We talk about plot or character problems we’re having. We talk, talk, and talk until we’ve worn ourselves and our listeners out.
Not all talk is good therapy. Sometimes, silence really is best. We can talk away the energy of a project and talking can be a way of avoiding what we should really be doing–writing. When I start to fall into this trap, I think of the quote above. Read more
Sometimes, I take the title of “writer” too seriously. I worry and fret about my stories and characters. I stress out that every choice I make is the wrong one. When I get in this mode, I forget the joy of writing. I forget why I write in the first place. Writing, I’ve discovered, is not for the faint of heart. This is why I’m so excited as I read author Alan Watt’s book, The 90-Day Novel: Unlock the story within.
Instead of promoting a stiff set of rules for finishing your first draft in 90 days, Watt encourages writers to spend a good amount of time loosely playing on the page. He has a list of prompts or questions to write about from the protagonist’s and/or antagonist’s point of view. He suggests setting a timer for five minutes per prompt and just writing down what comes, not worrying about whether or not you’re going to use it. Read more