Thursday, October 9, 2008

...her beef stew was too die for, and her tub sparkled...

I used to have writer's block. Actually, I used to have totally avoid the chair, go clean the bathroom block, which is close, but not as bad as take-a-nap block. I know a lot of it had to do with life issues, but a big chunk was simple outright fear. After a gazillion rejections, I had settled into TWRP secure in the knowledge DalCon had found a home.

Someone out there would read my messed up characters, and all that research I'd put into mega-corp structure, geothermal energy and helicopters wouldn't go to waste. But...like Gina said years ago, it's just a building block. I learned a lot from my wonderful editor Laura Kelly (who btw, launched a fabulous freelance editing service, LKES Laura Kelly Editing Services). I think I was her "project", in the same way I picked that project about the salesclerk at Walgreen's. Great voice, bad shape. The process taught me the huge difference between a character driven plot with emotional structure, and plot-driven or episodic scene structure. Not that I think I've developed it in my writing to where I want it, but at least I can see the goal--somewhere over on the horizon.

But--to be successful at writing, you need to produce, and to put it bluntly--my production sucks. Then I listened to the Stephanie Bond lecture. No clue why it clicked, I'd heard the info before, but maybe because she's such a good speaker, this time it sank in.

She said a friend of hers could write five pages in an hour, without distractions, without stopping. Just sit and write. So if you break that down into fifteen minute intervals, can you write two pages in fifteen minutes?

I locked my door, sat down, turned off everything but my current wips, and wrote. When I got stuck, I scrolled down to a different point in the wip, and kept going. If I couldn't, I opened another wip and wrote that instead. And...in fifteen minutes, I wrote three pages.

A couple of hours later, I did the same thing, and wrote two pages.

It's created havoc in my formerly spotless house, there's laundry in the basket, and there are soda cans lurking in my son's room under the empty MacDonald's bags, but...I wrote five pages in a day, and it didn't feel like work because it was fifteen minutes. I'm not sure if it works because I keep the windows minimized, or because it takes less time than washing clothes, but it continues to work--like I flipped some kind of switch in my brain where instead of going "it's so hard..." I can now say..."it takes longer to eat a sandwich."

I'm not blocked. I just write. I "can" write again, for fifteen minutes out of my day, sometimes more.

6 comments:

Alice Audrey said...

Doing the 15 minute thing has helped me get un-stuck several times, but in the long run I'm better off with BICHOK.

Jeanna said...

Thank God for deadlines or I'd never get anything done.

Jeanna said...

Thanks for giving me my next procrastination project, Project Tub Sparkle. Mine looks like a scene from The Young Ones.

Unhinged said...

What does BICHOK mean?

I really WANT to get into the habit of writing regularly. I do, but I'm just pathetic about it lately.

Posts like this help to inspire me, though. 15 minutes on work, work. Not prompts...but I like prompts, so I think I'm going to sick with them for a while.

If only I could write a book based entirely on prompts from beginning to end. It'd be episodic, though. Sigh.

jodi said...

you're going to have to share with us, Alice....butt in chair, maybe?

lol, Jeanna...my scrubby bubbles is empty. I need more. I'm getting this itch...in between my toes.

I dunno Andi, I think prompts are fine. You can always turn them into a strong plot once you get the episodes worked out--they can move and slot into the greater whole as scenes. the whole trick to that linear structure is simply building great bridges.

Kaige said...

A very wise lady once said, "You can do anything for 15 minutes." I've found that very true in many things. Another famous author type also said, something along the lines of "If you're blocked, sit down and write at least 10 words on your WIP. Because you probably won't be able to stop at just 10."

I find I have two modes: input and output. I don't do both simultaneously very well at all and I find I need to switch back and forth between the two. I feel like I've just come off an extended period of trying to output and am in dire need of input.

Andi, BICHOK = butt in chair, hands on keyboard.