Tag Archives: writing process

Don't break the chain!

This is a good visual trick for establishing a routine of any sort. In this case, it’s about writing daily.

Jerry Seinfeld once gave advice to a young comic.

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

And then he repeated for emphasis: Don’t break the chain.

In looking for an image to illustrate I found a site that allows you to do this online.

For some of you, this might be great. But you know me, I’m the analog girl, and for me, that big calendar on the wall would be the answer. In fact, it’s how I used to meet my deadlines when I was writing novels.  I’d have a one-year calendar on the wall beside my desk (where my storyboards are now) and I’d write each day’s page count on it and watch that chain of days grow longer and longer.  On good days, I’d scratch through the word count, sometimes more than once, as I kept adding more and more.  Deadline+adrenalin=werdz on page!

To add to the mix, a recent lifehacker post demonstrates “Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret on Steroids.” He points out that it can be used to build any habit from exercise to reading to Jerry’s original goal, writing.

After a long career of not writing daily, of believing that forcing words every day whether they seemed ready or not did not produce my best work, I finally gave in and started the writing daily habit.  I remembered those days under deadline, and how the adrenalin built, the muse flexed, the creativity soared.  And yes, I discovered that writing daily and insisting that I produce a certain number of words could work for me. I was amazed, and on a creative high.

Real life knocked me around a bit recently and I’m not writing now.  I miss it.  I need to get back on the bandwagon. I may even get another Yearly Wall Calendar if I can find a blank place on the wall to stick it, and a fat red marker… or no, I’ll keep the word count instead or… I dunno. I’ll figure it out. If I don’t get back on the wagon I think I’m going to lose my mind, though.

Do you write daily? Do you have any daily habit? Do you track it?  How?

In the meantime, advice to remember, writers–Don’t break the chain!

4 Comments

Filed under Analog, Office gear, Organizing, Storyboard, Writing, Writing daily, Writing Process

Don’t break the chain!

This is a good visual trick for establishing a routine of any sort. In this case, it’s about writing daily.

Jerry Seinfeld once gave advice to a young comic.

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

And then he repeated for emphasis: Don’t break the chain.

In looking for an image to illustrate I found a site that allows you to do this online.

For some of you, this might be great. But you know me, I’m the analog girl, and for me, that big calendar on the wall would be the answer. In fact, it’s how I used to meet my deadlines when I was writing novels.  I’d have a one-year calendar on the wall beside my desk (where my storyboards are now) and I’d write each day’s page count on it and watch that chain of days grow longer and longer.  On good days, I’d scratch through the word count, sometimes more than once, as I kept adding more and more.  Deadline+adrenalin=werdz on page!

To add to the mix, a recent lifehacker post demonstrates “Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret on Steroids.” He points out that it can be used to build any habit from exercise to reading to Jerry’s original goal, writing.

After a long career of not writing daily, of believing that forcing words every day whether they seemed ready or not did not produce my best work, I finally gave in and started the writing daily habit.  I remembered those days under deadline, and how the adrenalin built, the muse flexed, the creativity soared.  And yes, I discovered that writing daily and insisting that I produce a certain number of words could work for me. I was amazed, and on a creative high.

Real life knocked me around a bit recently and I’m not writing now.  I miss it.  I need to get back on the bandwagon. I may even get another Yearly Wall Calendar if I can find a blank place on the wall to stick it, and a fat red marker… or no, I’ll keep the word count instead or… I dunno. I’ll figure it out. If I don’t get back on the wagon I think I’m going to lose my mind, though.

Do you write daily? Do you have any daily habit? Do you track it?  How?

In the meantime, advice to remember, writers–Don’t break the chain!

4 Comments

Filed under Analog, Office gear, Organizing, Storyboard, Writing, Writing daily, Writing Process

So. This nanowrimo thing.

I may do this.  It’s crazy, man, crazy.  I have no business even thinking about it.  There’s every reason to believe I won’t be able to finish it.

But I may do this crazy thing.  I’ve churned out words before, but this November looks rough. Looks like a ridiculous time for me to even consider this insanity.

I wonder if I can have the name pooks.  I’m sure somebody else is already there with my name, damn it.  Maybe planetpooks?  I need to go sign up.

So.

Who’s in it with me?

Come on. Do it. Try. Just try. I don’t want to do it alooooone!

November 1st approaches….

NOTE:  I’m there.  My name is (brace yourself) pooks!  Be my buddy!

4 Comments

Filed under nanowrimo, Writers, Writing, Writing daily, Writing Process

Let’s start at the very beginning.

Whether I start working on the second book in my trilogy or dive into the new book that just exploded in my head, I am ready to get back to writing. Not writing is eating me from the inside out.

For me, the opening to a new book is a foundation of voice.  If it’s going to be a humorous book, I have to find that right tone that makes me giggle from the very first page and take off, even if that means muttering, stewing, cursing and pulling my hair out for days trying to find it.  Once I’m into the process I can write just to get words down and come back later and fix them, but not the opening to the book.

I have to really nail it.

Even if I come back later and change it anyway.

Also, I am a mood writer. I have to get into that moment, feel it, taste it, experience it.  When I’m lucky (which is quite often) the opening flows out of me because I’m in that moment, even before I know what the story is going to be.  That is how I find the story–the character and situation coming to life and flowing out of me in an ecstatic burst of muse-inspired magic, and I finally get to the end of it, sit back and look and say, “Wow. This is what I’m going to write next.”

But that doesn’t always happen, and right now I have two different books that are both at similar stages–I know characters, situations, at least some world-specifics and am bubbling with urgent need to create.

But they aren’t talking to me yet.

My attempts to begin have been forced and have not turned out the way I want them (even though others have said, this is fine, keep going).  I haven’t tapped into the magic yet, and so I’m in that teeth-gnashing stage.

I’ve taken to creating soundtracks for each screenplay or novel, something I can play in the background and if I’m diligent enough, create a Pavlovian response so that simply plugging in the iPod gets me at least 2/3rds of the way into my world.

I don’t have soundtracks for these books yet.

We all have different processes.  My process has changed through the years and still changes from one project to the next.  So. Tell me your process for writing the first pages.  Throw down words, come back later and fix?  Light a candle and meditate?  Toss back some single malt and growl a lot?

What’s your process?  Maybe you’ll inspire me. Or at least give me something interesting to distract me.

Oh, and any suggestions for Victorian London steampunk soundtrack music would be appreciated!

Image from Steampunk Workshop.

9 Comments

Filed under Music, Steampunk, Writers, Writing, Writing Process

Let's start at the very beginning.

Whether I start working on the second book in my trilogy or dive into the new book that just exploded in my head, I am ready to get back to writing. Not writing is eating me from the inside out.

For me, the opening to a new book is a foundation of voice.  If it’s going to be a humorous book, I have to find that right tone that makes me giggle from the very first page and take off, even if that means muttering, stewing, cursing and pulling my hair out for days trying to find it.  Once I’m into the process I can write just to get words down and come back later and fix them, but not the opening to the book.

I have to really nail it.

Even if I come back later and change it anyway.

Also, I am a mood writer. I have to get into that moment, feel it, taste it, experience it.  When I’m lucky (which is quite often) the opening flows out of me because I’m in that moment, even before I know what the story is going to be.  That is how I find the story–the character and situation coming to life and flowing out of me in an ecstatic burst of muse-inspired magic, and I finally get to the end of it, sit back and look and say, “Wow. This is what I’m going to write next.”

But that doesn’t always happen, and right now I have two different books that are both at similar stages–I know characters, situations, at least some world-specifics and am bubbling with urgent need to create.

But they aren’t talking to me yet.

My attempts to begin have been forced and have not turned out the way I want them (even though others have said, this is fine, keep going).  I haven’t tapped into the magic yet, and so I’m in that teeth-gnashing stage.

I’ve taken to creating soundtracks for each screenplay or novel, something I can play in the background and if I’m diligent enough, create a Pavlovian response so that simply plugging in the iPod gets me at least 2/3rds of the way into my world.

I don’t have soundtracks for these books yet.

We all have different processes.  My process has changed through the years and still changes from one project to the next.  So. Tell me your process for writing the first pages.  Throw down words, come back later and fix?  Light a candle and meditate?  Toss back some single malt and growl a lot?

What’s your process?  Maybe you’ll inspire me. Or at least give me something interesting to distract me.

Oh, and any suggestions for Victorian London steampunk soundtrack music would be appreciated!

Image from Steampunk Workshop.

9 Comments

Filed under Music, Steampunk, Writers, Writing, Writing Process