Who Says Outlining Stifles Creativity?

Last night I was writing a section in my WIP where, while riding in a carriage, the female characters engage in exposition as dialogue. Things are getting a little heated when the carriage stops – there is an obstruction in the road. Classic highwayman technique. The driver gets out to let the ladies know what’s happening when he gets shot with an arrow, turns, draws his sword and is slain by two more arrows.

As it turns out, it’s a character known to the ladies who does the killing. Evidently, according to this character, this is a plan to abduct or kill the occupants of the carriage. What no one knows yet, and probably won’t for several dozens of thousands of words, is that this character staged the entire false-attack event to get in the good graces of one of the ladies. There is no plot.

The best part about this? This isn’t in my very detailed outline. The journey in the carriage from point A to point B most assuredly is, but this bit with the arrows and blood and death and all just popped into my head as I was writing.

Just goes to show you that knowing where you started and where you’re going to end up doesn’t necessarily mean you know what’s around the next bend.

Be safe and be well.

My Fifteen-Thousand-Word Day

Below is the chronicle of what I did yesterday, followed by observations on an epiphany.

6:30 AM : Setting things up to begin at 7:00. I’ll be writing for the next 8 hours, maybe 10, with occasional feeding and watering. Plus I have to drive my son to work.

7:00 AM : It begins.

Cumulative Word Counts:

Hour 1 7-8:    1625 (1625)
Hour 2 8-9:    3692 (2067)
Hour 3 9-10:  5791 (2099)
Hour 4 10-11: 7754 (1963)
Hour 5 11-12: 9732 (1978)
Hour 6 12-1:   12762 (3030)
Hour 7 1-2:     12762 (0 – lunch break)
Hour 8 2-3:     13496 (734)
Hour 9 3-4:     15505 (2009)

So, in the last nine hours, I did eight hours of writing, taking a 10-15 minute break every hour.
My average is 1938 words per hour, though I admit I lost focus in hour 8 (the 7th hour of writing).
My best output was hour 6, 3030 words in that hour or 50.5 words per minute. Considering I took a small break in each hour, the Words-Per-Minute are a little higher.

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The Best Laid Plans

Here’s one of those graphs I was talking about.  This is word output for the WiP only, not blog posts or correspondence or what I write for work.

As you can see, i’m almost settled in.  I’ll have the habit locked down this week and then I should be able to get at least a thousand words a day.

Part of my problem is that I still have the bad habit of editing while I write.  When I open the document, I look back on what was written, change a thing or two, move a paragraph, re-word something. You know how it goes.

I have to train myself to only put new words on the ‘paper’ and leave the editing for editing time. Also, I spent much of my time yesterday the 4th trying to recover the auto-save when my processor went wonky. Make backups, people!

Anyway, here’s the graph of the last five days.

Word counts

Wordcount graph
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Be safe and be well.

Goals Not Resolutions

So its New Year’s Day, give or take, and time for everyone to tell you to get those resolutions going.  You need to make something bold for ’14 don’t you?

Um…No, you don’t.  Resolutions, in many cases, are just people’s ways of saying they’ll do something they don’t want to.  It makes them feel better that they’ve made the first step in some change, and they get to tell everyone that they’re doing something really special with their lives now.

So, yeah, you go and be all special and see me in eight weeks and tell me how THAT’S working for you.

I hope you do it. I really do.  Me?  Screw that resolution crap and give me something to shoot for that I WANT to do. That’s a goal, a concrete something that I can get my teeth into.  If you want to do it, then I don’t think it’s a resolution, I think it’s a goal.  In my tiny little, fevered mind, there is a vast difference.

So, you may well ask “Gee, what’s your goal this year?”

*assumes you asked*

Well, thanks for asking!  I’m going to set a completely achievable, no-nonsense, and real world goal for myself this year. Make no mistake, this is something I not only want to do, but also need to do.

I AM GOING TO WRITE AND PUBLISH AT LEAST FOUR NOVELS THIS YEAR.

All caps and bold and shit. You can tell I mean it.

And I do.

I got all this NaNoWriMo stuff written that was not really cohesive and worked it into the premise of a story that might just take a few million words to tell.

Yeah…

I’ve got the plot and research all done (I found out I am a plotter – big-time) and spent all my NaNoWriMo time doing research and writing scenes for this endeavor.

I’ll be able to do it because I discovered earlier today that I am able to type things from my mind to the keyboard much faster than I could ever write things from reading them, like those traditional tests to measure typing speed.

I can crank out about 30 words per minute from the reading of text, but I find out that when I type things from my mind, it comes out SO MUCH FASTER!  Like this blog post right now.  I have given myself fifteen minutes to write as much as I can about this particular topic so I can not only get a blog post up, but so I can also re-verify the discovery.

Now I have only done the whole type-from-the-mind thing two or three times (I think this post is the third) but if I can get myself into a situation where I can type the scenes of my WiP just as quickly, I might be able to hit 500,000 words this year with only a single hour a day devoted to the ass-in-chair.

Of course, the work will need to be line-edited and content edited, but it’s the “sitting down typing part” with which most people have the greatest difficulty. I’m hoping I can get the two thousand word hours (2K1H?) into about 300 days this coming year, once I get into the habit.  That’s plenty of time to get the thoughts on paper, get them edited and make the necessary postings to Amazon, SmashWords and the other places you can buy them.

So fear not! I won’t bore you with the excruciating details of my day-to-day struggle to get my 2,000 words.  I’ll just put up a chart every day, or every other day, that will show you the progress I’m Making.

So that’s my fifteen minutes.

Be safe and be well.

(BTW, This post was written at almost 41 WPM, the other test I did was a little over 50 WPM.  I guess this averages out to be about 45 WPM. That’s about 2700 Words Per Hour, but I don’t know if I can keep that pace for an hour. So 2000 WPH or 33 WPM seems quite doable. And this aside does not count in the word total of the post. So, yeah, you can do this, too.)

NaNoWriMo and Indiegogo

Or is that NaNoGoGo and IndieWriMo?

So confused…

It’s been quite a rough week, getting too little sleep and not enough butt-in-chair time for my NaNoWriMo.

Why? I am SO glad you asked. I’ve gone and done the stupid (or perhaps just the ill-advised) and decided that I’m going to not only  NaNo myself into an early grave, but also try and crowdfund a new author anthology in the same month.  What the HELL was I thinking? *you weren’t* SHUT UP, I know!

Not one to shrink from a challenge, I boldly went where angels fear to tread on the wings of love.  Or something like that.  GAWD my eyes feel like they have sand in them,  but what did I do tonight?  Futzed with a website I don’t need to have ready for THREE MONTHS.  I’m not gonna have anything ready to sell until late January, but I HAD to get the fonts on the website just right.  TONIGHT, not eight weeks from now.

Moral? Prioritize!

The countdown timer I put up on TAFpub.com tells me I have a little over 26 days until the Indiegogo campaign is over (but I think its messed up).  So that means I have 24 days for NaNo which means I have to crank out 2100 words a day on a story I am only 1000 words into.  I’ll have to re-write those as well, because I had an epiphany about NOT going back in time TWICE in one story through a flashback-within-a-flashback.  Sounded like a good idea…for about 10 minutes. Then I realized it was “Inception” and said ‘eff it’.

So I’ll just play it out as a trilogy, making NaNo the first installment. I’ll tell you what it’s about when I get it all figured out.  Not quite sure just how Lovecraftian I’m gonna get, ‘cuz it’s sure heading that way in the fevered little space behind my oh, so puffy eyes.

Yeah… the IndieGoGo campaign is at http://bit.ly/1aVVybo. If you would be so kind as to tell everyone you know about it 3 times a day for the next 25 days. LOL J/K… I mean 5 times a day *wink, wink*.

No, seriously, anything to spread the word without being a spammy jerk about it.

How do I feel about all this? Sometimes I feel like the Kid in the clip below, sometimes I feel like the gung-ho iguana.  You can stop watching after 40 seconds, that’s all it will take.

 

Be safe and be well.

Wasted Time

So what constitutes wasted time?

Spending three self-guided hours introducing yourself to InDesign and utterly failing to produce anything usable?

Writing 3,000 words only to realize you need to rewrite a majority of it because you based it on the WRONG character’s actions? Jimmy was in Baltimore on Thursday, you dolt. *sigh*

Having a long, silent conversation with a character about something she’s about to do and you’re trying to talk her out of it? Yes, we all hear the voices, it’s natural.  Well… natural for a writer, anyway.

What about doing house- or yard-work?  Someone has to do the laundry…

If you think you’re not being productive in your writing because you are off doing IRL (In Real Life) things, you’re accurate, but not entirely correct.  Taking a break from your writing once in a while is sometimes more important that forcing your backside into the chair when you’re distracted by these pesky things like good oral hygiene, walking the dog or communicating with people that exist outside of your head and/or the printed page.

Make sure you take time to get up and stretch at least once per hour while you write.  If you’re really in the zone and prolifically pound prose nonstop for two hours once in a while, that’s OK too, but beware the arms, shoulders and back.  I have back issues so I’m forced to get up.

Do a Pomodoro session (this is my thing – Clockwork Tomato App for Android), set a stopwatch or the timer on the stove to remind yourself to get up and stretch.  And maybe click the button on the dishwasher or sweep up those coffee grounds.

Image

Take time to feed the squirrels. Photo by M. Frank Parsons

Or go feed a squirrel.

Remember that time spent doing something you have to do, or something you enjoy doing that is not writing, is not necessarily wasted time.

Be safe and be well.