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FAQ: How do I write?

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We hear this all the time, and the answer from most writers is “sit down and write”. And that’s a valid answer, because in order to write you simply have to pick up a pen, or type on a keyboard, and write.

But I think the question most people mean to ask is really “how do I keep writing, even when I don’t want to?”

That’s a little more complicated. Learning to write is, in many ways, as hard as learning to play an instrument or becoming a pro-ball player. It’s less physical (unless you count carpel tunnel from all this typing) but it takes practice and dedication.

The other question might be: “How do I stay inspired?”

There is a terrible myth that all great art is created by this magical muse that comes and gives you incite at the right moment. Then you write a LOT, and everything is wonderful. It’s bullshit, but that’s the rumor.

The truth, and a truth all failed artists of any medium fail to see, is that the really great artists (Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Picasso, Van Gogh) had a few hundred paintings and sculptures in museums. Thousands more of their paintings were destroyed before they ever left the studio because they simply weren’t good enough. There are whole sketchbooks from some of the greats of pictures that were started, restarted, scratched out, and restarted again.

Ray Bradbury wrote a short story every day for YEARS. Not all of them were great, but he had a lot of practice, and a lot of them were. Picasso painted several paintings each day, and only a handful survived.

You need to write, and you need to write A LOT in order to get better. Thinking you can get out of that disregards all of the years that every other artist has ever put into writing.

As for the muse… create your own muse. Find out what inspires you to write, and keep doing that. For me it’s reading good books, talking to other authors about writing, or listening to a podcast. I know that if I do these things a lot then I will probably produce a lot more words on the page, just because I want to keep going. I want to see my book finished and in print.

For you it might be long walks, a shower, or a contemplative morning in front of a tech magazine.

Find what works for you, and keep doing that. Make your own muse. And even if the muse doesn’t come, sit down and write about the muse. Ask her/him why he isn’t showing up, and keep going.

 

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Posted by on January 10, 2014 in On Writing

 

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I’m a WINNER! – NaNoWriMo Day 30

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I finished NaNoWriMo.

Now, to be fair, I did not finish my novel. I did write 50,000 words in my novel, and technically won NaNoWriMo, but I have so much more to go in my actual novel.

In fact, I rewrote a couple chapters already, and had to toss out 10,000 words of just pure rubbish over the last month. (They still counted, and I still have more to throw out once I rewrite those sections.)

 

What I learned from NaNoWriMo!

The muse will come. Sit down, start writing, and eventually the muse will show up to. Don’t know what to write? Write that. Write about what you think might be happening. Wright about an argument between the two main characters about nothing happening. But write, and eventually the muse will show up to.

Two, I do better at 1000 words a day right now. I had to push for the last two days to break that 50,000 word goal because I simply work better, and more consistently at 1000 words a day. But I also know that the more I do that, the more I will stretch my goals and eventually next year, when NaNoWriMo comes around again I will be able to complete this challenge with a couple days left to go ( I hope).

Lastly… It is really REALLY helpful to have a family who supports you when writing. That calls you up, or texts you every day and asks how writing is going. That encourages you, and tells you that you’re awesome. That listens to you when you are having a bad day and you think everything you write sucks.

Half of what I wrote (at least) was total, utter, crap. I’m going to have to pick out the few sentences I loved, and rewrite everything else. That means going through the entire books page by page with an editors mindset, and rewriting it ALL. But it’s gong to be worth it, because I will fill in all those missing sections, and make the story even better then it started out.

In fact… what started out as a “paranormal romance” has grown. Oh, the paranormal and the romance are still there. There is also political intrigue, a church gone amuck sacrificing people to their god to keep control, curses being lifted, a harpy nest, a siren that looks like death warmed over… I’ve got it all!

And I really can’t wait to show you all, so I’ll be doing some polishing and rewriting, and hopefully in another month or two I will have a finished copy.

I think I am going to take a short break from it all, and work on my zombie story, though. I need a short breather from mermaids and curses.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2013 in NaNoWriMo

 

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I don’t Wanna! – Day 10 NaNoWriMo

Every morning I get up, I take a shower, brush my teeth, and go to work. I put on a pot of coffee to slowly sip and wake up. I greet my customers with a smile on my face, even when inside I want to run away. Go home. Slip into bed with a book and a bottle of orange juice, and forget the outside world even exists.

I don’t want to be there, but I go. I have to pay my bills, and take care of my children. This isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity. And I go, even though I don’t wanna!

This month I’m participating in NaNoWriMo. And this week… I don’t wanna. I don’t want to write. I don’t want to sit in front of the computer. I don’t want to fill in paragraph after paragraph of someone else’s life.

But I’m going to.

There are those who say you should only write when you are inspired, and I heartily disagree. Inspiration is not what gave me thirteen books, and over 100 thousand words in stories published on Amazon. Inspiration started the story, but sheer determination finished it.

I don’t want to sit in front of my computer typing. Not today. Today I want to cuddle up and play a game, or watch TV. But TV and games won’t put words on the page. And they won’t further my goal of being an author that makes my living from my writing.

So I’m going to go write. I might have to rewrite it. But I’m still going to go do it.

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2013 in NaNoWriMo, Writers Block

 

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