Thursday, June 23, 2011

Procrastinating Author Day

This is for all you authors (aspiring and otherwise) who can't seem to put fanny in the chair--or on the treadmill workdesk which is oh, so chic right now--and channel the writing muse. People ask me how I write five books a year. Ssptt, here's the secret.

If you want to catch lightning in your hand, do writing sprints. It will get the words on the page. The first draft will be crap anyway, so get it over with already and get to the good stuff--revisions. On this score I believe in the gospel of Ray Bradbury: "Quantity eventually equals quality."

(Hmm, looks like my subconscious is into hand metaphors this week, but I digress.)

My personal favorite writing sprint method is Dr. Wicked's Write or Die. If you are going to use Write or Die, don't wimp out. Go hardcore with Kamikaze mode where the software eats the words you've written if you don't keep your fingers moving. Believe me, those fingers will fly with that kind of threat hanging over your head.

If you're a princess and too nervous for Dr. Wicked, then at least set a kitchen timer and write as fast as you can in ten or fifteen or twenty minutes without stopping to correct typos or even put in punctuation. The point is to get the words on the page. You can let the internal editor out of her cage to go medieval on it later.

And if the electrified hand scares you, maybe you shouldn't be a writer. If that comment makes you mad, but you are still procrastinating, then here's a quote from Nora Roberts, the queen of just-get-'er-done. "Pull up your big girl panties and write the %^$# book."

Do you do writing sprints? If so, what method do you use? If not, why not?


  1. I'm a reader, not a writer; Loved Nora Roberts' quote!

  2. I've done a lot of this ala "flash fiction" -- writing based on a simple prompt like a single word or quote and that's it: ready, set, write! You don't have time to think or be nervous or angst over whether it's perfect or not. It can be very liberating and surprising and dang if you don't get some great story ideas out of it.

    That notion that what you put down on the page has to be perfect from Draft 1 is so intimidating. It's hard when your brain knows it won't be and that it's okay but at the same time keeps locking up on ya.

    LOL @ Nora Robert's "big girl panties." Ain't that the truth. It certainly doesn't get easier the more it sits there. *sigh*

    Though Holy Smokes, Lori. FIVE books a year? FIVE!? That's amazing no matter how you pull it off!


  3. Karen,

    Enjoy reading. It's far more pleasurable than writing!

  4. JewelTones,

    Thanks for sharing that!

    This year it's five books and three novellas. LOL. But I know plenty of authors who write more than that.


  5. I'd love to try Dr. Wicked, but I'd have to find a way to control the interruptions ("Honey, we're out of toilet paper again."), I'd go into the negative. I agree with Nora and Nike: "Just Do It."

  6. I tell my husband if he interupts me when I'm writing or dying, that he better be prepared to have his head ripped off. It's easy to tell when an author is write or dying. She's keyboarding so fast it sounds a hailstorm against a tin roof.