Happy Thanksgiving to all.
I was chatting with one of my friends the other day and we were comparing how our new novels were coming along. The last time we chatted was around the same time we were hit by Hurricane Sandy which was around Halloween. He was at about 22,000 words into his story which he said has been completely outlined and well thought out. I was at 31,000 words with the same outline (even though I wont be pompous and say it is well thought out!)
After chatting two days ago he told me he was at 28,000 thousand words and has been writing on the same schedule he has always used; after work, dinner and the kids going to sleep.
I am at 49,000 words with the same parameters in my life.
And he asks, "how many times have you sat down to write?"
And I answer, " five."
Dumbfounded, he goes on about how I can write so fast and why he can't.
So we talk about it and he tells me that I should share these ideas with others, which I am always glad to do.
Here's the story:
Now I am not going to tell you that my method is the best or that is any good at all. It works for me and lacks anything special. Basically what I do is open my laptop and write. I check my outline which I have to say is one of the most important things a writer can do. I think not having an outline is like driving from New York to Texas without a map or a GPS. I scan over the outline and write about what I've summarized. Sure, beforehand I have ideas of where I'm going. I usually listen to WFAN or ESPN radio in the car and when the commercials pop up; I lower the radio and rehearse some lines in my head( sometimes aloud ) and make a mental note so when I write later that day, I already know what I'm going to do. I think by immersing myself in the story, it enables me to write a better one. Sure sometimes other ideas come about and I change the storyline to convey my new thoughts. There are no rules that state that you absolutely must follow your outline. We broke rules as children (sometimes as adults too) and this is no different. Plus, if it enhances your story and makes it even better, why not do it!
Next thing is that I write and write, I type whatever comes across. Even if its the most basic sentence, I know I will check it later when I do my revisions. I wrote my first book in 4 months, spent another 3 doing revision after revision. I wasn't sure if I had completely succeeded in that I thought there were parts of the story that could've used more work or different ideas but I never would've finished it then. I wanted to put out the best story I could and by using these methods it enables me to do so.
I can't stress enough about the fact that you can't be too critical of yourself. We've all seen the writer on t.v. or movies typing on a typewriter a few sentences and pulling the paper out, crumpling it up and throwing it towards a garbage can filled with dozens of similar crumpled up paper.
You need to not be so judgemental cause as the Jedi say (yeah I'm a Star Wars nerd) don't focus on the negative. If you think to negative, it will show not only in your writing but in your life. Listen, my first book had it's share of good and bad reviews. While I am proud of my work, I do know there is need for improvement. In addition, people like different things. Some will love your work and others will hate it. I say---GREAT. At least they read it. That's the important thing. Thats what makes us unique and special.
Don't give yourself deadlines either. Dont go home and tell yourself you're going to crank out 2000 words that night, only do 500 and become dejected. At least you did 500!
THINK POSITIVE---you're still writing and 500 words a day for a month that's 15000. In five months, thats a full novel--not too shabby.
Keep up the good work and as always--any questions or comments please write me.
Have a great thanksgiving!