Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Start of a Beautiful …

By Scott D. Parker

All writing advice boils down to the obvious: Just Write. Those words are painted on a ceramic pencil holder I keep on my writing desk. On the back of it, I put a small red dot. When the lady at the ceramic store asked my why, I told her that I was always missing something and I needed a little reminder to help me remember what I missed.

The beauty of that little red dot is that it can stand in for just about anything: better prose, more natural dialogue, get that essay to the editor yesterday! This week, the little red dot has taken on a new meaning: schedule. I am blessed to be able to work my technical writing day job out of my house four out of five days a week. As a result, I’m in this room many, many hours. I’ll admit, too, that come the end of the work day, I am so ready to get off my butt and step away from the computer and the keyboard. Not a real conducive writing environment, that.

Like Dave on Thursday, I read Chuck Wendig’s post, “Six Signs It’s High Time to Give Up That Whole “Writing” Thing” (Hey, Chuck! Two DSD shout outs in one week!) There was a single take away from that essay: Shut up and write. The nifty thing for me was that I already was.

Taking a cue from Jeff Abbott, I started a habit five days ago: write in the morning. With summer here, my boy is not in school. In the past, when I didn’t have to get up so early, I’d allow myself a few minutes more sleep. Not so, now. I made a simple decision: maintain my wake up time from the school months and get 1,000 words done before heading “off” to the day job.

And I’ve done it, too. In this first week of summer when the mercury nears 100 every day, the mornings have been unexpectedly pleasant. So, not only have I fired up the Mac every morning a little before 7am, I’ve also pounded out my words sitting outside on my patio. I can’t tell you how fulfilling it is to have your writing for the day done by 8am—my hard cut off time since I do have to work. And, as the week progressed, I found that I, when I awoke and groggily brushed my teeth, the sentences I was to write started forming in my head. By the time I poured the coffee, I almost didn’t’ need it so thrilling was anxiousness to get to writing.

An interesting colliery: Because I have to start work at 8am, I have had the situation where I’ve had to stop in the middle of a scene. I’ve never really done that before—despite the advice from numerous sources that it’s a good idea—but found it to be a pretty cool thing the next morning. I don’t think I’ll keep that aspect of my writing, but it’s helped a couple of times.

When do you write? Are you a morning writer?

Short Story Collection of the Week: Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles as written by Edward A. Grainger. I think we all know that Edward A. Grainger is really David Cranmer, writer, editor, publisher, husband, and new father. A couple of days ago, the first collection of his Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles short stories was released via Kindle. I had the pleasure of reading some of these stories in draft form and I can attest that there isn’t a bad tale in this book. Even if you don’t particularly like westerns—see Chris F. Holm’s introduction if you fall into this category—you will enjoy these tales of adventure. Besides, the collection is only $0.99. Come on! You can part with a dollar, can’t you? You’ll get much more than you paid for, I assure you.


Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Glad you are invigorated and off to such a great. I try to write for about 2 hours, typically between 9pm and 1am

Dana King said...

Interesting. I've started taking the summer off the past two years. Of course, we have different situations. My work/life schedule doesn't change in the summer. I just like having the free time to recharge my batteries and plot out the next story.

On work days I write in the evening, after supper. Browse some blogs, check email, go over what I wrote yesterday and ease into it. On days off, I aim for mid-afternoon, when the house chores are complete. It's hard for me to write either first thing or right before bed. In the morning I'm still getting revved up, and if I write before bed I can't fall asleep.

Joelle Charbonneau said...

Congrats on the writing. I'm not a morning writer but that is due to the toddler racing around at home. I also have to teach morning lessons so I am busy getting things ready for those. I tend to write in two chunks - when the tot is napping and then again at night when the tot goes to bed. Sadly, since he is night owl, I don't get to my computer before 10:30 which means I'm up until after midnight.

When I am writing, I have to write 7 days a week. I try not to take days off, although I find sometimes it is necessary. When I write every day I find the story flows easier - that it was bouncing around in my head since the day before and is now ready to be written. If I take more than a day off in the process I tend to lose all sense of momentum. Sounds like you might have my disease!

Happy writing!

Scott D. Parker said...

Sean - When I wrote my first novel, I wrote from 10pm to midnight over eight months. The sickest collection of weeks and months of my life. ;-) But I got it done ahead of the deadline.

Dana - I would like to do that, as well, but I want a few more stories under my belt before I start taking time off. Besides, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is such a nice, concise time that getting a story done in that time is thrilling (says the guy who hasn't done it yet...)

Joelle - This morning (Monday) was the first day in which I told myself "don't do anything but brush teeth, drink coffee, and start writing." No emails, no internet (this after the Mavs won the NBA Finals!), no nothing. Just write. I did, and it worked well.