Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Business of Writing

So about that New Year's know, the one to write more and write better.  It's now February and I can't say I've noticed much change - at least not in the former (one lives in hope for the latter).  Every year, I make a writing plan which, as I said to Lynn, is really more of a wishlist.  But I really hope that's all about to change.  You see, I've discovered a few things.

1.)  If I unplug my phone, I get a lot done.

2.)  If I forget about FB except for early morning or late evening, I get a lot done.

3.)  If I can group my errands instead of haring out of the house every day, I get even more done.

More than all of that, however, I've decided to get more disciplined about the whole thing.  You see, I read a couple of blog posts by different authors, both of whom recommended writing 1,000 wds an hour.  When I first read that I thought, oh, that's okay then, I'm already doing that and then the rest of my brain caught up and I realized it was per hour, not per DAY.  That's impossible I wanted to scream but instead I investigated more and came across this post by science fiction and fantasy author, Rachel Aaron.  It really hit home.  Of course!  I need to become more business-like.  Track my writing hours for a couple months so I can really see when I am at my most productive and what the factors are.  Do some pre-writing before each writing session, particularly when I'm having difficulty with a scene.

I've made up a table and the first thing I've discovered is that answering the phone is a big problem.  On days when I've taken calls that lasted twenty or thirty minutes, I get so pulled away from wherever I am in the plot that another thirty minutes of puttering goes by before I can settle back down to write.  So I'm making little changes. 

Today I had a business meeting which took two hours and then  after that it was time to begin homeschooling sessions so I only got in 683 wds.  Abysmal!  But there's always tomorrow!


Neil Waring’s –Western Ramblings said...

I thought you typo-ed or it was some weird Freudian slip, then I read on. You meant to say per hour. That takes some very fast brain work. Maybe if writing in a James Joyce like, stream of consciousness, with one wandering thought after another, (oh wait that’s what I am doing now).
Good post and keep on writing. The great weather is getting me, being pulled by some cosmic force to the golf course every time it is nice out.

Liane Spicer said...

'Write more, write better.' I'm stealing your mantra.

Charles Gramlich said...

I think advice like write 1000 words an hour is just bad. Some people could manage that and do well, others couldn't. This is so completely opposite of how I write that to try and do so would just mean I'd hang it up. Why write if you can't write the best way for you? I could certainly use some increased productivity, though, but not in this way. More in the hours I spend writing instead of word count.

Anonymous said...

I recently read a post from a published author who touts not even writing every day. She refuses to "straight jacket" herself by a quota and finds her productivity increases if she removes the expectation. I think some of this is a matter of personality and preferences.

I find to-do lists helpful with goals for the week and day. I'm a geek about crossing off the lists.

Good luck with the word count-- it seems to be the perfect motivation for you!

Liane Spicer said...

Agree with Julie 100%. I'm very resistant to 'rules', especially the one that says to write every day. I write between 2500-4000 words at one sitting, and then my mind needs a bit of space before I resume. I'm far more comfortable with a goal of writing at least three days a week. Different strokes.

I too can't function without my lists.

William Doonan said...

I couldn't do 1000 words an hour. Agreed, there are time wasters like research and e-mail. But half of the enjoyment for me is thinking up ideas for a scene or a chapter, and then researching a little bit of something new, then checking e-mail, and such. It might slow me down, but I'm not in a huge hurry.

Eugenia O'Neal said...

Definitely different strokes for different strokes. What works for one won't work for another.

For my part, I wrote 3,787 wds. today. Before I started I sat down and thought about the scenes, I turned off the phone and then the words just poured. Will they continue at this rate? Will let you know but I do plan a few days's break next week.

Jewel Amethyst said...

1000 words per hour is a lot of writing, but is it good writing?

Putting some amount of pressure on yourself, setting guidelines and deadlines is good, but when that pressure becomes to much it frustrates you. And a constantly frustrated writer easily loses his/her passion for writing.

I say write with passion. If writing with passion yields 1000 words per hour, then make that your goal. If it yields less, go with it. But writing should not be a sterile dispassionate business deal. It shows in the the writing.