(via The Random Post)
But if you want to be a writer, than be a writer, for god’s sake. It’s not that hard, and it doesn’t require that much effort on a day to day basis. Find the time or make the time. Sit down, shut up and put your words together. Work at it and keep working at it. And if you need inspiration, think of yourself on your deathbed saying “well, at least I watched a lot of TV.” If saying such a thing as your life ebbs away fills you with existential horror, well, then. I think you know what to do.
Get the rest of the kick up the pants over at Scalzi’s blog.
I decided to plug the text of the novel I am pretending to write into wordle, a tool that produces a word cloud making the most frequently appearing words bigger.
Here is my novel in progress:
I don’t claim to know much about writing, but I wonder if this might be a slightly useful editing tool. Obviously the two most commonly used words are character names, so I figure that’s alright. “Father” is up there too, but that sort of works as a character name as well. The next three are interesting: “just, “know”, and “like”. In particular “just” doesn’t seem like a word that should be used more than just about any other word in the story. When I get around to editing what is just a very rough first draft, I will just have to focus on removing that word just as much as I can. I suspect “know” and “like” may not be as much of an issue, but am willing to stand corrected.
I recently posted about my decision to skip NaNoWriMo this year and embark on a modified version, National Novel Finishing Month instead. In short, instead of trying to write a new 50,000 word project, I will try to make a good chunk of progress toward finishing an existing project. I’ll also be setting a lower target than 50,000 with something in the vicinity of 15,000 being a more realistic target for me.
The project in question, with the increasingly inaccurate working title Wildflowers currently sits at 29,244 words. For the sake of a round figure for the total word count I’ll shoot for 15,766 words in November bringing the project to 45,000. That’s a breath over 525 word per day. I think I can manage that.
Wish me luck.
Some years ago a friend got his motorcycle licence.
He explained one of his motivations for going out and getting it done, “If I got to be 90 years old and hadn’t got a motorbike licence, I knew I’d regret it.”
I have this crazy idea that I’d like to write a novel. Sure I’d love to write something good enough to be published, but I’ll settle for something I’m happy to send to a publisher. If they like it, that would be a bonus. If they like it enough to publish, that would be unbelievable.
I have started several “novels”. One is currently a couple of thousand words long plus a rough outline. A long way to go but I love the idea behind it. Another is only a few hundred words long and may never move on. Or maybe there’s a short story in it. Another is about six thousand words long. It’s my favourite project so I hope to pick it up and run with it again sometime.
My best effort though and the focus of my current energy is getting close to thirty thousand words long. It’s a children’s fantasy. There’s not many of them so I figure there’s some room in the market.
I have always been tempted to keep this a secret. Plug away without anyone knowing and suddenly surprise the world with a finished manuscript. But I decided instead to tell people. To chat about it like it’s another of my hobbies. Which it is.
For me, talking about it makes the novel more real, the dream more legitimate, and the writer more accountable.
The fact that people know I’m trying this is helping me, even if just to stop me giving up.
This is important because I know if I get to be 90 years old and haven’t written a novel, I will regret it.
It has always seemed to me that a large proportion of librarians really want to be writers. Actually, let’s face it, a large proportion of non-librarians really want to be writers. The sad fact is however, that the vast majority of these would be literary greats never even get around to starting their masterpiece. That’s where NaNoWriMo comes in. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is the sort of thing that might give you the spark you need to get going. The basic idea is that you try to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. Thats 1667 words per day. Every day. For a month.
I first tried Nano a couple of years ago and from memory I may have written a few thousand words. I can’t even remember what the story was. Last year I tried again and got to 16,000 words. I know that is a far cry from 50,000 but I have kept plugging away on that story and it is currently close to 30,000. Still a long way from being complete. But I’m proud of it.
I (perhaps foolishly) have decided to give it another go. I’ll try for 50,000 but don’t really care if I make it or not. if I can get 10,000 or 20,000 I’ll be extremely happy.
Have you always wanted to write a novel but never had the motivation to start. Do you have a few plot notes buried in your sock drawer? Do you dream of living the blissful life of a full time writer? Then why not join me and thousands of others in giving NaNoWriMo a shot. You can se my NaNo profile here and make me a writing buddy if you like.
Here’s some thinking music to help you decide:
I have a guest post up at Blurb it, a blog run by the Gold Coast City Library. It lists some of my favourite books of recent times and will be followed soon by a post of books I am looking forward to reading this year.
On the writing front, I recently read an article by Cory Doctorow with a few writing tips including a target of 250 words per day, every day. His logic being that this can be done in 20 minutes and could get you a novel in less than a year. My previous target of 4-5000 words per week was not happening. Even 2000 per week was hard as I would end up trying to do it all on Sunday night. But 250 words, he’s right, I can do that in 20 minutes. Even less. I can do it on the short train ride between Ashburton and Camberwell. I also leave what he calls a “rough edge”, in the form of a short comment describing what is going to happen next. So when I start the next day, I don’t have to think about what’s going to happen in the story. So far, so good. We’ll see how long I last.
For what it’s worth, my would-be novel has just passed the 25,000 word mark. Still nowhere near the 50,000 I had aimed to write by the end of last November, but it still feels like quite an achievement.