Scott D. Parker
We creative type are the weirdest workers, aren't we? Unlike our business brethren who face deadlines with certitude ("I am employed by this company and the boss says to get this project done by this date so I dang well better do it or else I'll be fired"), creative types don't often possess that most compelling of reasons to get something done. We have to be caressed, cajoled, and compelled to do something we tell ourselves we really want to do. Folks with day jobs don't have to be asked how we feel when asked to prepare a quarterly report or given just that precise incentive to hang sheetrock.
Knowing all this, knowing that many of us writers need the extra little push, I ran across an interesting quote this week over at Lifehacker. Attributed to Karen Lamb, the quote goes like this: “A Year from Now You May Wish You Had Started Today” It struck me pretty good on Wednesday morning when I read it. I have since printed it (that would be cajoling) and have applied a couple of blanks to the quote: “A ___ from Now, You May Wish You Had Started ____” In those blanks, I can add "few hours" and "this morning". You can also add "week/today" and "month/today". It's a good reminder that, instead of feeling guilt that you didn't do something, imagine yourself congratulating yourself for getting up and doing the thing *you said you wanted to do.*
Another pretty obvious thing we writer have to keep in mind is that writing is an activity that builds on itself. Every session that you put words in a string, eventually, they add up to something more than the sum of the parts. This week--the very same day I read the Lamb quote--I was reading an interview with Cassandra Rose Clarke over at SF Signal, my go-to site for all news SF/F related. I ended up reading the interview because Clarke is a fellow Houstonian. Here is her quote in response to a question about works in progress:
Right now I’m in the midst of a writing experiment. I have a major project I’m working on, which takes up most of my attention, but I also have a minor project that I work on for fifteen or twenty minutes a day. Basically, first thing every morning, I write between 500 and 600 words on this minor project, and then I set it aside. It’s kind of neat to know that I’ll have a book by mid-summer purely through the magic of cumulative effort.
Since we writers who don't have the good fortune to write fiction for a living have to carve out time to do our fun writing, this was yet another compelling argument that every little bit helps us.
On a side note, I ended up downloading the sample of Clarke's new novel, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, late on Wednesday night…and blazed through it. I haven't done that in a long time. Moving on to the entire book.
What little quotes or sayings do you use to help you get words in a row?