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A stake in the ground, or, getting the butt in the chair

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sgt_steve



Joined: 18 Jan 2005
Posts: 5197
Location: Michissippi
A stake in the ground, or, getting the butt in the chair  Reply with quote  

I'm beginning to grok that my greatest problem with writing is a lack of spending time with butt in chair and fingers on keyboard. This past February I had a burst of it, and put nearly 10,000 words down on three separate stories. Looking back at the period, I've seen several hard truths.

First, plotting is not my problem. Two stories started from a single scene - an interaction between two characters - and an entire background and plot grew kind of organically from each.

Second, characterization isn't my problem. Looking these stories over, I see nearly a dozen different characters, each with their own way of talking, thinking, acting, and reacting. Oh yes, there are some similarities between one here and one there - but let's face it, if you grab a dozen people at random you're bound to find some personality overlap.

Third, prose isn't my problem. Not that I'm a prosesmith by any means, but I can get words onto a page and have them mean what I meant them to.

Nor (and let's forget the damned numbers) are spelling and grammar a problem. Between real-time and post-hoc spell checkers, I'm improving the former. And the more I pay attention to my own prose, the better the latter is getting.

Nor is ability to work a problem. I keep an electronic lab notebook at work. Recently it started getting a little large, so I carved off the first six months and set them aside as an archive. 20,000 words, 121 pages. And it's terse! July and August? 9000 words, 51 pages.

Nope, the problem is simple enough. I need to plop my butt in a chair, put my fingers on the keyboard, and just fucking write.

So I'm going to try an experiment. Starting tomorrow morning, I'm getting up an hour earlier. And I'm going to try to write for one hour every morning, Monday through Friday. On the same story. Until it's done or it becomes clear the story is completely hopeless. And we'll see what happens.

Post Sun Aug 27, 2006 12:55 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
FattyFattyPorkFace



Joined: 10 Aug 2004
Posts: 6381
Location: Michigan
 Reply with quote  

I tried that...my motivation runs dry as does my inspiration. LIke I've said before, I have a tank of inspiration and it gets used up by filling different glasses and containers during the day. These include but are not limited to:

Work
Songwriting
Poetry
Attempts at novel writing
Posting here
Telephone conversations
Emails
Day-dreaming
Work conversations
Random conversations

The tank is only so full and I talk a lot.
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Post Sun Aug 27, 2006 1:16 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
mllefifi



Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 8964
Location: Deleoware
Re: A stake in the ground, or, getting the butt in the chair  Reply with quote  

sgt_steve wrote:
[...]And I'm going to try to write for one hour every morning, Monday through Friday. On the same story. Until it's done or it becomes clear the story is completely hopeless. And we'll see what happens.

Well, since you don't have to be writing a story of your own, I'd suggest that you write "The Scarlet Ibis." That one freaked me out in high school.
Very Happy

But seriously, Steve, best of luck.
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Post Sun Aug 27, 2006 1:23 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
knikkki



Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 3145
Location: Davis, CA
 Reply with quote  

Steve,

It's definitely a discipline. My goal when writing is 1000 words a day, which is usually 2-3 hours. But I really think you have to set the goal and get into the routine and indeed ... it comes!

Good luck!
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Post Sun Aug 27, 2006 1:46 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
JennyO



Joined: 28 Apr 2004
Posts: 2775
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Good luck, Steve. Hope it goes well.
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Post Sun Aug 27, 2006 8:33 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Boota



Joined: 09 Apr 2004
Posts: 830
Location: Kokomo, Indiana
 Reply with quote  

Steve, you've hit the same problem I ran into, and still do occasionally. Like knikkki said, it's a discipline. Once I start a book I do everything I can to write every day. My goal is 2,000 words, but sometimes I find a good stopping point at 1,600 or so and call it a day. Good luck. Smile
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Post Tue Aug 29, 2006 4:24 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
gailellen



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 36
Location: Portland OR
UGH  Reply with quote  

Discipline? what's that, again?

I have two 20,000 word starts on two very different novels. Right at 20K I lose focus. What my characters want to do seems stupid. Or they hide from me. Fall is a time of work for me, so I guess I'll pick one and be diligent in getting at least another 20K before the new year. Maybe I'll even finish one! Gosh, what would that be like? Short stories are damn easier.

Good writing to all!
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Post Tue Aug 29, 2006 6:00 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
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