1/22/2009

Writing Life

I always wanted to write a post like this one by Alan Campbell, another Tor author and the man behind Scar Night and its sequels.

"Open word processor. Look at empty page. Write another beginning for another new book. Notice that I have 27 of these openings now. Close word processor. Answer emails. Have a ten minute game of online poker. Win 83p. Open word processor. Start all over again."


I've read some writers descriptions of their working lives - up at dawn, five mile run, bran and fruit for breakfast, work for a straight eight hours, outline a complete book by supper and then to bed for a maximum of six hours sleep before up again two hours before dawn for judo practice - and wonder if they might be, you know, exaggerating just a wee bit.

My life is a bit more like Alan's. Just a bit. I do actually write almost every single day, for at least a couple of hours. I'd love to do more, but my brain and body just won't let me. I've found I usually can't write until maybe three in the afternoon - emphasis on can't. Brain-to-fingers communication is zero until that point. Or perhaps it just takes that long for the caffeine to finally hit my system.

10 comments:

Bob Lock said...

Yeah Alan's post struck a chord with me too. I'm a procastinwriter, I'm determined to get some writing done but first have to check emails and favourite blogs. Then get sidetracked by something I've read on line and decide to investigate further then voilĂ  time has passed and I have to eat lunch. Before long it's time to take the dogs for a walk and soon after it's tea time and I have to put off writing until the evening.
But then of course I have to spend some 'quality time' with the wife and telly.
Little wonder I've only written one novel and the sequel is gathering virtual dust on my hard drive!

Neal Asher said...

The lure of the Internet is one of my biggest problems. This was confirmed when I wrote in a place where the Internet was in a cafe twenty minutes drive away and when I opened the computer I could use it for nothing other than writing - I was knocking out my wordcount in half the time I do here, now. No message boards or websites to read, and no blogs to comment on...

Bob Lock said...

See what I mean? It's the next day and 10.41am and I've just jaunted over to Alan's site, then The Skinner, Rhys Hughes's, Pat's Fantasy Hotlist and now here and I'm about 2/3rds through my bookmarks so a couple of sites to visit yet.

But! I did manage to write a few pages on the hard SF novel last night and also wrote a short story for D.F.Lewis's Cern Zoo anthology which I hope he'll accept, so quite a productive day yesterday for me.

Hey Neal, I don't know what you're moaning about, we all know you just download all your stuff into the PC direct from your aug...

gary gibson said...

I must admit before I start writing I check a pile of blogs and news sites, but it takes me a good long while to wake up. But then I get bored of that, think: well, I might as well take a look at the manuscript, then boom! three hours have passed and I've written over a thousand words.

The trick, Bob, is to write just one sentence a day. Promise yourself no more than that. In fact, promise yourself precisely twenty minutes and no more. Twenty minutes a day every day for a year gets you a finished first draft.

jimsteel said...

Yeah, I'm a great believer in the 'one sentence a day' routine. I only fall down when I forget I'm supposed to be a fiction writer.

Oh, those non-fiction deadlines...

Mark Chitty said...

Gary - that twenty mintues promise sounds very good and I think I'll try and use that once I get my general plot idea in order. Procrastination is just too easy though :(

Bob Lock said...

All good advice, guys, thanks.I really need to get some more self-discipline but I think it's not only that. I seem to get 'creative spurts' when I do manage to sit down and write quite a lot (for me) and it comes easily and I don't want to leave my keyboard. Then all of a sudden it ends and I am left farting around browsing the web etc until the next time.

Hey, Jim, saw your ask for subs over on OMG! and I'll be sending you something of mine, it's quite weird and I haven't really found anywhere to place it before but your antho could be what it's looking for!

jimsteel said...

It's not my anthology, Bob - I'm just a contributor! Still, the link should put you through to the editor.

Bob Lock said...

My bad, Jim, sorry. I misread you. I've sent in a short of mine, so fingers crossed :)

jimsteel said...

Best of luck, Bob - hope to see you in there!