Scott D. Parker
I walked away from a job yesterday. I have a new one lined up in a week so I’m not making making as big a leap as our DSD buddy, Russell, but it’s still a step into a new direction.
One thing that is going to change is the amount of personal time I have. Violins playing, I know, but I’ve been working from home for 3.5 years now and it’s a huge deal to give it up in favor of other benefits. With the old job, I was able to wake up at six and write for a couple hours before before “commuting” down the hallway and go to the day job. That’s gone now, so I’ll need to find other moments in the day to write.
That will also make my writing time have to be more efficient. My biggest challenge, to date in my fiction writing career, is my efficiency. Last summer, I was a writing machine...because I knew where I was going. The past couple of projects have started with a great first half but then got bogged down in the middle. Everyone knows the muddy middle is the hardest but it’s even more difficult when you don’t know how to get through it. That’s my major hurdle to overcome this summer: practice.
More efficient writing to adjust to the less time I have to write. Okay, but what, you ask, does five hundred have to do with that? Well, since you’ve kept reading down to paragraph four, I’ll tell you. After I walked out the door for the last time, I headed over to Office Depot. I wanted to buy my own mouse that was the same model as my old work mouse. (It’s a Lexar M310 if you want to know.) While there, I saw the package of 11x17 paper. I love paper that size and use it when I start writing down ideas for a story. I start with a pencil, finely sharpened, and just start brainstorming an idea. I did it most recently at the beginning of this month when I laid the groundwork for my current yarn. Now, it’s filled with notes and arrows and cross-outs and all sorts of mind-mapping type things.
The astute reader will no doubt have put two and two together to figure out where I’m going, but I’ll spell it out nonetheless. As I practice more efficient story creation and practice more efficient use of my personal time to write, I’d like to have a goal: five hundred ideas. One per 11x17 page in that package. Some stories will take more than one page and others only one so the number probably won’t be five hundred, but I think you get my idea. Dream big. Dream bold. And have a plan.
I want to spin tales out of those five hundred pieces of paper. A year from now, how many will have been filled? Two years? Five? Ten? It’s one of those times when blank paper is a thrill.
How do you create your stories?