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Author Topic: "Your Distracting Me" - How do we write in this busy world?  (Read 5108 times)
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Ed
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« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2011, 02:09:50 PM »

Something Tom Monteleone said at Borderlands struck me and made me think. He said (paraphrased), "You should be writing every day, preferably a thousand to two thousand words a day, and if you're not, you're just playing at it."

I thought about it there and then, and came to the conclusion that I am indeed playing at it. I can't force myself to write when I don't want to -- what would be the point? In my case, I write/wrote because at that point in time it's enjoyable. If it's not fun, I don't do it. Why should I? I spend most of my waking hours doing things I don't want to do. I work full time, help out with some of the household chores, and I've still got pricing and billing to work on in my 'free time', so when I find myself with nothing that needs doing, I try to enjoy that time.

Personally, I haven't written much since I quit smoking, four or five years ago. I used to stay up until the wee small hours, writing, smoking heavily, and something about the combination of fatigue, the stimulation of nicotine, the peacefulness of that time of night, and the snug I used to write in, put me in the zone for writing. Now the snug's gone, and so has the smoking, and the insomnia, so I'm no longer the same person in some ways, and my writing 'nest' has to be rebuilt accordingly, I suppose. I'm hoping to get my mojo back sometime. Like other things I've done in the past, I'm hoping this is just a plateau, so once I get to the end of it there'll be a steep rise in productivity and hopefully quality.
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« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2011, 02:16:57 PM »

Graham Greene used to write 350 words a day and stop, even if he was mid-sentence.

DW Cheesy
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« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2011, 02:26:28 PM »

I haven't written much since I quit smoking

I know what you mean. When I quit I lost 3-4 hours a day and gained 30-40 lb Sad

But they told me it would be good for me  pissed
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« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2011, 10:35:14 PM »

A writer writes.  But it's never as simple as it seems.  The hours spent thinking about the plot, about the characters, about wrapping things around a motif or what ever is lurking about...those thoughts slamming in your head as you wash the dishes or weed the garden...those doubts of your skill with language...all of those things are work for the writer.  If we are doing those then we are writing..."I wrote 1,000 words today" or "I commit myself to a story a month"  Come on, really.  I wrote negative words this past weekend (deleted some crap from a chapter and its better than when I started) and guess what--still counts as writing.  Today I linked the idea of my initial character with the last character to be introduced (bit of symmetry in the work).  Didn't "write" anything but it's still writing as far as I'm concerned.

You need to do this...You need to whatever or you're not a "real" whatever...

All I can say to that is "whatever." We do what we do and hopefully someone will like it or hate it...and unless a "Writer" is an accredited title achieved through a degree of study and monitored by some board I really don't care what so and so says makes me a writer or not.  And sometimes writing isn't the most important thing in my life or I suspect in any one's.  Sometimes worrying if there will be NFL this year is more important (yea, I went there  ).

Sorry, bit of a rant...and writing without a cigarette is murder!
« Last Edit: May 23, 2011, 10:38:20 PM by jsorensen » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2011, 10:47:58 PM »

I agree, but I also don't think the driving force behind all of these quotes is to quantify what a writer is by their word count or ability, but rather to give a simple "Don't give up on yourself." If you enjoy writing, make it a true part of your life one way or another. Don't let the negatives get you down, but rather challenge your resolve. There are probably literally hundreds of thousands of talented people we will never see their work because they are down on themselves. And I truly think the advice these pros are giving is to that end...to see you all (me too!) feel good about whatever process you have set in on. After all, you have to be happy with yourself above all things.
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« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2011, 12:55:12 AM »

I write every day.  I don't pay attention to how many words I write.  I think that's counterproductive.  In fact I haven't looked at the word count once as I'm writing my current novel.  I've written about 300 pages in a few months along with some short stories thrown in for good measure.  How many words?  I really don't care.

As far as research goes: I hate it.  I only research what I don't know (and I'm talking the bare minimum) and make up the rest.  I'm not saying things are so made up that they make no sense, but using a fake town sure does cut out a lot of research.  I do have to say I've speant many an hour researching guns for a western, and cemeteries for a novella I wrote.  I just find it irritating and I usually wait until the story is finished before bothering with it. 
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« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2011, 05:20:52 AM »

There are probably literally hundreds of thousands of talented people we will never see their work because they are down on themselves.
...name one, please scratch
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« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2011, 06:39:33 AM »

There are probably literally hundreds of thousands of talented people we will never see their work because they are down on themselves.
...name one, please scratch

I can't tell you his name, because we were never formally introduced...or at least I don't remember his name as it was long, long ago...but I watched this guy play guitar to the level of Stevie Ray Vaughn. You will never have heard his talent because he thought he sucked. I do know that he got so down on himself that he threw himself through a window and killed himself. There's one, and there are a lot more like him that will never share their work with anyone because of the impending doom of rejection. In fact, I was one of them up until just a few years ago.
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« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2011, 07:12:51 AM »

what a shame

what made the stronger impression: the music or the defenstration? -- [what an untalented suicide-system. i would suggest going through a CLOSED window  - its marginaly more spectaculor ... but only mrginaly...]
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« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2011, 07:18:19 AM »

I didn't know the guy, so it was all the music for me. He was simply an amazing guitar player. He even dressed like SRV, and maybe that was part of the issue. I talked to him very briefly about his playing, and he said he didn't feel original. Next day the girl I was dating said, "Remember that guy last night, threw himself out of a window." That was it. To this date though, still the best amateur guitar player I have ever seen.
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« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2011, 11:59:31 AM »

I write every day.  I don't pay attention to how many words I write.  I think that's counterproductive.  In fact I haven't looked at the word count once as I'm writing my current novel.  I've written about 300 pages in a few months along with some short stories thrown in for good measure.  How many words?  I really don't care.

As far as research goes: I hate it.  I only research what I don't know (and I'm talking the bare minimum) and make up the rest.  I'm not saying things are so made up that they make no sense, but using a fake town sure does cut out a lot of research.  I do have to say I've speant many an hour researching guns for a western, and cemeteries for a novella I wrote.  I just find it irritating and I usually wait until the story is finished before bothering with it. 

Good points.  Yesterday I wrote maybe 200 words and then kept going over it trying to make it work, eventually deciding it wasn't what I wanted and scrapped it.  So I didn't produce anything tangible, but I still made progress; I still wrote.  I'm still a writer.

I agree that setting a specific word count to accomplish daily is a bit restrictive.  It's all a process, editing and all that other crap included. 

Oh, and concerning research... well, I don't like it either.  I think a little bit is necessary, but what's important is the story and the characters.  Most readers will forgive you if you make some things up as long as your story is interesting.
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« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2011, 03:03:55 PM »

The DankaWanka Rule-of-Thumb re research & writing:
- have enough of the truth to make the story believable and enough of the un-truth to make it interesting.

« Last Edit: May 24, 2011, 03:06:43 PM by LashSlash » Logged
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« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2011, 03:06:38 PM »

I'm actually a happier person when I write (I'm sure you can all tell that I'm not writing much at the moment...). But that doesn't alter the fact that it's still a struggle to find the time. Today I've done 12 and a half hours work (so far), including a couple of hundred miles driving, an afternoon of presentations, a morning of talking to customers, and now I'm finally getting to my emails and my 'to do' list... Not eaten since breakfast (I had an apple for dinner) and the dog's staring me down demanding that I take him out. By the time I sit down later on and crack open a small bottle of well deserved beer I doubt I could string two decent words together (maybe: "I found myself thinking...it felt like....well it seemed that life had never been busier" would be about the standard). So it gets put off for another day. Yet tomorrow is likely to be much the same. Thursday is shaping up to be even worse, even more stressful. All I want to do is sleep - yet I wake early thinking of work stuff so the tiredness remains - and that's not conducive to writing. All in all, I most definitely am the furthest away from being a writer now as I have been since I was about 18.

On the plus side, I've just written all of the above  Wink and I do have a WiP and a target market so it's not all doom and gloom. I'm sure the situation as outlined above is reasonably temporary.

Gotta dash...

Derek

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« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2011, 03:30:08 PM »

The research I do is more on the craft of writing. I know it may not always look like it, but I put a lot of work in attempts to improve my writing. As for research for a story, I do as mentioned above by LashSlash. So I agree with that statement very much.

When I write, I don't keep a running word count. I do however keep a mental log of my progress. Unfortunately, like I said, it is up and down depending on mood, etc. I do try to shoot for 2k per a day, but then again...I am not clocking in at another job every day. When I did work, I was up late more often than not and not sleeping much.

As for my reference to treating writing like a job, that applies to me more than anything. I have taken this on with the full intent of doing it full-time. I hope to be able to achieve my goal, but you never know. I do miss working around people to be honest. My day revolves around writing for the entire time from when the wife leaves to when she gets home. My only breaks are the occasional exercise, laundry, cleaning, dishes, and such. I do allow myself to slack sometimes though when I am not feeling well, which is more often than I would like right now due to allergies, my stupid thyroid, and some disc issues. When they all line up right, I am useless.

All that being said, it did take me over 35 years to feel good enough about my writing to show it to anyone else. Many of my friends and family didn't even know I had written anything in college, let alone earlier than that. If it weren't for my wife I would probably be somewhere 10 feet underground due to a heart-attack. She pushed me to do this, so I owe her much of any success I achieve. I put a nice dedication in the front of my book to her, some of you all, and some of my friends....don't know if I ever mentioned that.

I quit smoking some 7 years ago. It is a ghost that haunts even today. It was truly the most difficult thing I have ever done, and it still smells good to me every time I smell cigarettes. I was able to quit by placing a mental image to the act of smoking. I see a picture in my head of my daughter (2 at the time) crying to come out on the deck with me, and me telling her NO because I was smoking and didn't want her to be around it. That was the day I quit because I felt like an ass for doing that to her. And boy am I glad as it is almost a car payment to buy a pack of smokes now days LOL.

Distractions are a good thing, and I often welcome them to a degree. My wife has held full conversations with me while I have written. Whenever it is an intense scene I need to focus more. My dogs are always at my feet wanting to be pet all day. When the kids are around the run an scream and want Dad's attention. This is why I do the reading over the summer more, as both they and my wife are off.

But I also wanted to reiterate how good you all write. I truly believe that. I value you all as colleagues. But remember, when all us writer/editor types get a hold of a story we are much more critical than the common reader base would be. But that is also because we all wish to improve upon our game. Keep writing, keep smiling. Sorry for the epic post.  bleh
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« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2011, 05:08:47 PM »

Quote
maybe: "I found myself thinking...it felt like....well it seemed that life had never been busier" would be about the standard
grin
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Jerry Enni lives in a small house in the center of the San Joaquin Valley with his beautiful family. By day he makes signs and by night he writes stories. To learn more about him, check out Clear Perspective, Blurry Lens
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