Thursday, February 25, 2010

Staying on Course

Writing is tough. Getting the words from your brain onto the page involves so much more than typing. I type but what appears is never quite what I'd envisioned. I know this is the process. Through six books, I've gotten a little better to trust that it will eventually met, and sometimes, miraculously, surpass my expectations.

In the meantime, I have little tricks to keep me on course.

1. I write six days a week.
2. I write at the same time each day.
3. I submit my work to my critique group.
4. I think about my characters and my story when I'm not writing.
5. One word, Starbucks.
6. Nothing says "You can do this!" like an already published manuscript. I try to keep mine in view.
7. I get together with friends to write.
8. I don't talk about my plot too much.
9. I read in my genre. Reminds me people are getting published.
10. I analyze the books I've read.
11. I go to MWA meetings and Sisters in Crime meetings as a way of staying connected.

What about you? Not just writers, but crafters, too. Is there a way you keep it fresh? Do you sew every day? What habits have you developed that help you stay on the track where the end is nowhere in sight?


Kathryn Lilley said...

Great writing habits, Terri! I try to ask myself a question about my character, plot, whatever I've been trying to resolve that day, when I go to sleep. Somehow my brain processes it while I'm asleep, and inevitably I wake up with a new idea the next day.

Kathryn Lilley
The Kill Zone

Camille Minichino said...

Lots of the same tricks, Terri, especially the part about critique groups and brainstorming with friends.

What I don't do is anything routinely. For whatever reason, I clutch up if I have to do the same thing at the same time every day or even every week. Not just writing, but lunch and laundry, too!

So my writing periods are all over the map. Sometimes play all day and write all night.

I tell my students it doesn't matter as long as you get it done.

Camille Minichino said...

Nice to see you here, Kathryn!

Betty Hechtman said...

Like Camille, I don't do anything routinely. The closest I come is that I almost always write something in the morning while I'm drinking coffee, though it is often just junk in my journal. In fact, it is very hard for me not to write while I have my coffee.

Sheila Connolly said...

What, only six days a week? I count all that "thinking" as work time.

I have found that sometimes talking through plot points with someone else (not your cat) helps you clarify your own thinking and makes the holes more obvious. Of course, when I do that with my daughter she just curls her lip and says "genre."

Definitely coffee!

Terri Thayer said...

These are the things that I try to do. Routine seems to help me. When I sit down to write, the muse shows up faster if I invite her around the same time.

One thing I've learned (and it took way too long) was that there is no one right way. Even for me.

Yes, nice to see you Kathryn. There's a post last week about dreaming and writing you might want to check out.

signlady217 said...

Since I resigned from my job last year, I don't think I do anything at the same time everyday! I'm trying to figure out how I managed to get up and go to work every day for so many years. At the time, I didn't like it, and now I don't know if I could to go back to doing that again. And since I'm a night owl, things could get really crazy for me! I'm not retired, just taking an online class for medical transcription, so I will be able to work from home. The only time I set the alarm is for church on Sunday morning, or if I have some kind of appointment that I can't miss. Gotta love that!

Anonymous said...

These days, I'm trying to really listen to my sort of internal calendar. I get a pull when I've spent too long on marketing or too long away from a project. I used to not worry too much about that pull--with more time, it was easier to just go with the flow. Now I'm trying to pay attention, because, what you basically say-work/time is the only sure way to move forward!

Terri Thayer said...

Sometimes too much time is as bad as too little. Paying attention to that inner auditor (as opposed to the inner editor) can be helpful. You know when you're happy with what you've done.