Friday, August 27, 2010

I Are Ready To Conversate! (1)

Background dump: Something that newbie writers execute very badly, something that average writers do correctly about 50% of the time and that good writers simply Dudley Do-Right.

My background dump: I didn't write throughout my elementary, middle, parochial and high school years, at least not beyond what the minimal requirements were needed to pass a particular class. I also didn't do a lick of writing in my adult years beyond the necessary business correspondence that was required of my job. Which means that I had absolutely no clue on how to do what I was about to do on the incredible journey I was about to take.

I got a very late jump on the bad writing portion of my career, specifically, starting this incredible journey at the ripe old age of 40 (I'm 45 now). The generic reason as to why I started is that I experienced a small cataclysmic event in my life. After recovering from said small cataclysmic event, a tiny seed of a story idea began to grow deep within that atrophied section of the brain called "creativity".

In no time at all, I found a brand new reason to use my refurbished Dell: writing a story. And writing is what I did.

Note: since I had no Internet on that computer, the most I ever did with it was to create a couple of databases for my record collection.

I started writing this bad (literally) boy by sitting down at my dining room table one night after supper, turned on my laptop and began pounding furiously away on it. However, after producing about 4 pages of high quality yecch! material in less than 20 minutes and considering the potential direction that this story was going to take (yes, even back then, I had S-E-X on my mind. boy did I ever have S-E-X on my mind), it would behoove me to move my creativity in action (no, not the unpublished story quiz kids) to other places of the house where I would be able to write without prying eyes spying on me.

Also in no time at all, I managed to develop a writing routine that to this day has not been used since I completed that horrible book. As a matter of record, I still do one item from that list. Betcha can't guess what that one item is.

1} I spent the entire time (about five months) writing angry. Not getting angry for a particular scene, but being angry from beginning of the book {He was sitting there in front of his computer, suffering through a mild (okay, a severe) case of writers block, listening to some real early (and exceptionally bad) music of the latest alternative flavor on the MTV scene, and thinking to himself “this music really sucks”.} to end {And as they went walking off together hand in hand admiring the sunset and discussing their future plans, they literally took an incredibly long walk of an incredibly short pier and finished the day by enjoying a most refreshing bath, together.}. Please note that I kept everything as is for those two sentences.

2} I got up an extra hour early each morning to write before officially starting my day, which meant I got up at 4:30 every morning to write for one hour.

3} I edited before writing new stuff.

4} I wrote small chunks while surrounded by people.

5} I showed my stuff to my co-workers while I was writing it.

Once I got settled into a good routine, I started cranking out words at an ungodly rate, like on the average about 2,500 per day. Let's face it man, I was a lean mean writing machine.

What kind of lean mean writing machine is the subject of part two.

In the meantime, a question to be had is this: have you modified your current writing routine (or any kind of creative routine for that matter) from what you initially started with?


  1. No - I still write between 5 and 6 am Monday through Friday. I feel oddly more creative at that time - it is the hour when I'm still a little sleepy and the day hasn't settled in yet.

  2. I've tended to get more and more regular in my habits over the years. The only thing I've done differently deliberately than when I started is that I allow myself more days off now.

  3. Interesting, G. 2,500 words a day is a lot! I think you still do number 4.

    Other than the tools I use - from printing (I started writing at age 7) to longhand to shorthand to typewriter to computer - my writing habits have been the same. Mind you, when I'm really into something, I've been known to get lost in it and time means nothing.

  4. Hmmm...probably not. Before I started my blogging I used to write daily to and Internet group of buddies. Ten of us shared our lives with each other. We probably know more about each other than our family and close friends. I often just wrote my thoughts about life in general, what I was working on, a rant or two and debated something that I felt strongly about. Over the years, before my blogging, I entertained myself and my Internet buddies. Then my friends and family in real time, told me that they felt left out. I switched to a blog. I still write the same way I have always written. I post a blog entry when I sit down to have my morning coffee or my lunch. I don't worry to much about content, either you read it or you delete me, up to you. I've been told that I write exactly like I talk. So, if you are reading my blog you could be right across the breakfast table, from me. When I tell stories I tend to tell them the same way, short and to the point.
    I know, too long....... lol...obviously I'm not short and to the point here.
    Reading has improved my style over the years. When I found a writer's style that I really liked I think it influenced me. Unfortunately, with growing older is I can't remember who that might have been.

  5. You showed your coworkers? Oh. My. Lord. I hope they recovered from the experience, lol.

    I have been writing since I was about 10 but I never took it seriously until my early 40s, either.

  6. I've actually never had a writing routine, although I suppose I should. I just do it when the mood strikes. It's a compulsion.

  7. General comment: The only thing that is still part of my routine is #3, editing. I edit during my down time and break time at work because I always have an updated printed copy of my story to work with (another part of my routine).

    Lynn: After I got done writing this particular piece of slop (yeah, slop), my writing moved from early in the morning to the afternoon (on weekends) or evening (during the week). Usually on the weekends is when I feel like I'm at my most creative, whether blogging or writing.

    Charles: Makes sense. Can't write well when you're suffering through burnout/fatigue. I find that if I go too long without trying to write something (be it a blog post or another chunk of story) I get a little antsy.

    Talon: At the time, I was majorly obssessed with this particular story so the words were really coming out in large chunks. Now, I set a more modest goal of about 1500 a week, which is due to the fact that its tougher to write M-F as opposed to the weekend. With my current story, I do a mixture of long hand & Dragon. When I did my last book project my goal was 750 words a day, and I pretty much kept to it.

    My routine as it is now, will probably be a follow up in a week or so.

    Bea: My writing style has definitely changed in the past five years. Prior to discovering the chat rooms, my writing was wickedly sloppy and undisciplined. The chat rooms with their 4,000 character limit, forced me to tighten up my writing skills, for which I'm forever grateful, and the blog is where I was able to improve my skills 1000% over were I was two year ago.

    WW: Yeah. They sort of recovered. They all thought I had potential, although a couple of them noted how much rage and anger was contained in that sloppy book.

    But now, I don't even dare show anyone what I write until its done. I find writing to be tremendously therapuetic and personal, and as such, I don't feel comfortable showing anyone anything until its complete.

    R: Writing is great compulsion to have. Sometimes I do mine when the mood strikes me as well, although there are times when I really need to force it in order to escape the garbage dump that is my home life when it threatens to invade my personal space.

  8. Well, I can't say that I've changed my writing routine, but I have changed my mind on a painting I was working on. Instead of flowers, I semi-decided to go with abstract. Unfortunately the background's so nice I'm almost afraid to do ANYTHING on top of it now, but sooner or later I'll have to press on...

  9. Lana: That seems a little more dangerous, so to speak. With writing, you can always wipe out the new stuff that you wrote to replace the old stuff. But I would think that with painting, once you decide to switch gears and start doing it, wouldn't it be more difficult to go back to what you were doing originally?

    In any event, I hope it works out for you.

  10. I need to establish a routine. I'm a spur of the moment kind of poet for now.

  11. Kelly: Spur of the moment is pretty good and it can be a routine within itself, but having even a small routine within the spur of the moment can make a lot difference.


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G. B. Miller

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