Creative Process

What’s Your Excuse?

This is a kick in the ass to you, to me, to everyone who ever wanted to write and had an hour that they wasted. Writers are dreamers. They have to be. It’s in the job description. But not all dreamers are writers. Some go on dreaming, and their stories are never written, never shared. That part of dreaming is hard work. It’s easier to read silly articles like this than to find the courage to dive in. It’s easier to write silly articles like this than to dive in. Whatever demon is holding you back, I’ve already encountered it, danced with it, sat on a porch and had a fiddle duel with it. Let me save you some trouble.

I can’t fail if I nevtearing-hair-outer begin.

That’s a comforting little prolepsis, isn’t it? You can’t succeed either, though. Next! (more…)

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Why Can’t You Be a Plotter and a Pantser both?

In this business we’re all a little odd, some more so than others, and we each have our own peculiar way of doing things, don’t we? A little bit of lunacy is a prerequisite, I think, to even consider embarking on a project as daunting and all-consuming as a novel.

There is a great deal of chatter out there in the ether about this plotting vs pantsing business, and on which side we happen to fall.

For some, a book’s plot is hatched whole in a revelatory flash – driving, or on the toilet, perhaps – and they have only to pull over safely, or make a mad dash with pants around ankles for a notepad, or a computer, or lipstick on a wall to capture it. And they’re off – the thing unfolds largely as they’ve mapped it. For others, it might be a character or two who pop into their minds, say hello, have a little chat (the line between writer and schizo is nebulous), and they seem like interesting folks, worth getting to know, so the conversation is continued on paper, or onscreen, to see where it leads. Both approaches have yielded astonishing works – the trick is to figure out, before you write half-a-draft and are forced to start over, which works the best for you. Perhaps, like me, you’re a little bit of both?  (more…)

Motivation for a Smart-Phone Addict

Every writer photo 1 (2)struggles with motivation. How do you keep your ass in the chair day after day? How do you force yourself to open that chapter that’s been giving you hell, and keep at it? You’d rather cut your toenails, or take out the garbage than beat your head against a stubborn manuscript. Or maybe, like me, you’d rather play games on your phone. Hitting a new high score feels good, gives you a sense of accomplishment, of being in control. There are measurable results, and tangible rewards. The joy of competition.

The dangers of smart-phones are probably best left for another post, but the time I wasted on mine clued me in to something about myself: I need competition, even if it’s only me I’m competing against. I need that measurable result (never mind that finishing a rough draft is the ultimate measurable result – it’s too long term for the day-to-day gratification I crave). I need to see my high scores, and better them. I need targets, ones I can hit every day, to give me that warm fuzzy about this brutal business of writing. (more…)