January 19th, 2007



As matociquala noted this morning, a seismic event, triggered by a recent post by John Scalzi in Whatever, will soon send ripples throughout the blogsphere as people write about the progress of writing. She's grabbed her board and jumped onto the first wave. greygirlbeast offers her two cents as well in her own post, and I'm sure others will pop up on LJ soon, so I'm going to get wet and offer a bit of advice:

How you write doesn't matter. Just write.

Sure, you can debate the merits of writing fast or writing slow, taking years to finish a project or taking months. Scalzi notes correctly that, using the recent Hugo nominations as a key, where George R.R. Martin's latest epic A Feast For Crows (which took five years for him to write) and Scalzi's own Old Man's War (which took three months) both receiving nominations to the final ballot, speed isn't a reliable variable for measuring quality. That's why it's a variable, influenced by a particular writer's skill at their craft, the story they're telling, the editor who worked with them, et cetera, et cetera.

How you write doesn't matter. Just write.

Take whatever steps necessary -- if that's your choice -- to write. Join a group such as the Novel In 90 community. Participate in the NaNoWriMo. My current carrot and stick is the former. Because that's my choice. I want to write. I've started collecting and printing out what I call mantras (because they feel like prayers) and placing them about my workspace to remind me that writing is a need for me, not just a hobby or a passing fancy. It is unlike any other obsession I might indulge. I let it identify me.

How you write doesn't matter. Just write.

So ... for anyone who wants to know, here are my mantras. I invoke my muse with them. Call them rules if you wish. Repeat them until them assume the weight of prayer. Some sound repetitive, but all prayers require different tones. Your muse is your god and she demands music.

Writing Mantras
1) Just write.
2) Get the story written, then get it right.
3) Hold nothing back.

I will add to them as needed. I will use any tools I can beg, borrow, steal, imitate or idolize. How you write doesn't matter. Need rules? Make them. Set penalties for breaking them. We are untrained dogs in search of our Pavlov.

2 Chapters Down

Finished the first chapter told from Joan's viewpoint tonight to meet my Novel In 90 quota of 750 words. That puts the rewrite at 18,250 words and 74 pages. I'm not as far along as I was at this point last week, which was the first since I started in this "little" community matociquala started. Still, it's 22 more pages on top of the previous card deck's worth.

After knocking out a few chores around the house tomorrow (cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, shoveling snow) the hard work starts with Chapter 3, which is new material, an interlude before the next chapter told from my main character's POV. That chapter was another 22 pages. It needs its own work and will change a bit depending on what I do Chapter 3. But if I can finish this new one tomorrow, no matter how short, I can knock off a good number of pages in the rewrite before this second week comes to a close.