Wednesday, January 28, 2009

productive writer?

Today I've been remarkably productive. I got through a whole heap of things that I've been procrastinating about. Everything seemed to work out well and go easily.

Is all this productivity today related to the fact that yesterday I was almost completely UNproductive? I would start one thing and then move to another. Nothing I did seemed to go easily at all. By the end of the day I was ready to cry.

So today I'm thinking, maybe it takes both kinds of days. Maybe the days when we're feeling frustrated, clueless and overwhelmed are just a sign that we're rearranging something underneath the surface, something that will help us out another day.

Impossible to really know. But if you're feeling tired, upset, overwhelmed or just plain terrible, remember that everything changes, sometimes as soon as tomorrow.

Monday, January 12, 2009

How to begin a book?

I'm often asked "How do I begin a book?" or "When I start a new story, I feel really inspired, but somewhere along the way I lose inspiration or the story fizzles--what do I do?"
Getting past chapter three is a challenge for many people, including me. To keep going without getting permanently derailed, I always remind myself that IT'S OKAY TO WRITE BADLY. During a first draft, we're not trying for deathless prose; we're just trying to stay alive. When it comes to the first draft, perfectionism is death--save it for the final draft.
Just get in there, get going, and keep going! You can't write a book without writing it, and it will only happen word by word. Often, in a first draft, the words are nothing special. That's fine. Don't worry about it. Set aside obsession and attention to detail. Set aside criticism. Just write. There will be plenty of time later to go back and polish up what you've written. By then, you'll be celebrating the fact that you have something to polish!