Your web-browser is very outdated, and as such, this website may not display properly. Please consider upgrading to a modern, faster and more secure browser. Click here to do so.
Was one of the books my mom had to get for a class. I’d thought about picking it up a couple of times, especially since it’s only a little over 100 pages. I did so tonight and found the writing style splendid, so I sat for 2 hours and plowed through the whole thing, and here’s the results:
Leaving aside pleasantries about how the book was ‘sooo right’ about this and that, the most important section to me was when it talked about ‘canons’ of activity that one performs while creating art. The most interesting example was Earnest Hemmingway who would situate his typewrite on a counter-top and did all of his writing standing up.
The author goes on to mention that they had a personal formula of always writing at night time, and then at one point decided to switch it up and write during the day. This didn’t work; writing all but stopped, and it became a necessity to go back to formula.
I’ve always been one to play around with the formulas I use for creative work, constantly looking for whatever might trigger my inspiration.
Early on in the course of writing my novel, I realized that it was difficult for me to write it on my main computer. Something about using it was like a natural distraction, so most of my writing got done on my dad’s laptop.
The author stresses the importance that if a canon is necessary to work, then it shouldn’t be disturbed. It’s not hard to see why someone would think to change things, since these canons usually seem pretty nonsensical, but the fact is, what works, works.
There’s a very clear common factor in all the work I did on my novel—it was done in concentrated bursts of insanity while facing incredible self-imposed deadlines.
The first 5000 words were done when I swore to myself I’d have 5000 words done by the end of the first day. The next 5000 were done in two or three days while I realized that my novel wasn’t going to be anywhere close to how long I’d miscalculated it as being. The sudden lack of need to write fast took away my desire to write at all.
Somewhere around the 20th, a conversation with ghostlightning rekindled my motivation, and I resolved to lock myself in a bathroom all night and get writing done. Thus, another 5000 or so words came about.
Then, finally, when time was running out on the 28th and passion was mounting, I creamed out 20k words in one day, and capped off the remaining 5k words or so in the following day or two.
By the looks of it, I can only really work when I’ve got pressure on myself to do things with absurd speed. This is basically true for everything I do—I’ve always been an absurd procrastinator who holds things off until the end and then bursts through them in one sitting. Just now at the end of the semester, I had a project for typography which we’d been given at least 3 weeks to work on and I did it entirely on the day before it was due (and still got a B!)
I love setting big goals, because I love the feeling that comes with accomplishing big goals. Smaller goals don’t feel like enough of a stunt or ‘challenge’ to catch my interest.
The reason I haven’t resolved to set stunt goals for myself all the time is that from a rational perspective, it seems unhealthy. Most people would not advise writing 20k words in a day. Then again, most wouldn’t probably recommend doing 50k in a month, but there are nanowrimo participants who complete 500k words in that span. (A friend of mine from school that I challenged to do Nano with me wrote 85k.)
One author talked about in Art & Fear was obsessed with producing at least 7000 words every single day, to the point that if he finished a novel early into that chunk, he would immediately start on the next one to fill out the 7k.
Maybe I’m just simply like that. Maybe regardless of what seems like a good idea to others, I’m just the guy who has to write in ridiculous spurts of fury. It’s most certainly an avenue I’m going to proceed to explore, effective immediately.
Almost a week ago, I came up with, for the first time, a complete idea for a novel. I’ve always had ideas in pieces, usually knowing the beginning and ending of my story with a couple of vague middle details, but could never really decide how to get from the start to finish and have it make sense. This uncertainty is a lot of why I haven’t ever finished anything that I’ve tried to write in the past.
So this time, I pretty much have it all figured out, which is where I have to conquer the second demon - perfectionism. One of the things that NaNoWriMo tries to teach writers is that actually writing is the most important thing about writing. Revision, editing, etc. are all great, but if you never write anything then, well, nothing will be written. I’ve always fretted way too much about these things. I get caught up in, like, writing an opening sentence that isn’t too cliche, or trying to perfect every sentence in the first paragraph, and that won’t get me anywhere, especially because there is no perfect way of doing it. By the time the novel is done, I’d probably end up changing everything like that anyway.
So what I need to do is just plow through everything, no matter how shitty it may sound at first, and just have it all there.
But man, that is hard. It really does bug me, writing a paragraph that I know should be heavily revised, and then just continuing on. It hurts. I’m used to writing in quick bursts and correcting everything on the spot. As a blogger, I write all of my posts in one sitting. I transfer everything from brain to word, then I go back and make sure it all makes sense, and send it out. It hurts to not be able to immediately go back. So I end up losing confidence. After just writing the first four pages of my new story over the course of a couple of days, I was already wondering ‘will this really be okay?’ but then I had to slap myself a couple of times and remember that it won’t matter if it’s okay if I never finish the fucking story.