Saturday, October 30, 2010

Daily writing

For years I read the advice to writers: write every day.

I do that, I thought.  I write something every day.  E-mails.  Message board posts.  Um, e-mails.

But writing to produce a novel means writing that novel.  Novel idea.  Here's what I have learned over the last four months of writing at least 20,000 words a month:

1. I have 90,000 words logged in two different novels.
Those ideas that would come to me in the night usually withered in the morning sun because I knew I couldn't turn the idea into a novel.  How would I write that length of a work?  Now, I know in four months I could have the idea blasted onto the screen.

2. I think of myself as a writer.
 This is no small deal.  I still hesitate when meeting a published author because I haven't sold a novel yet.  But if I have two novels sitting on the shelf awaiting editing (and undoubtedly a better plot), I can consider myself a writer.  And a writer writes.  It's a nice self-perpetuating kind of plan.

3. I learn the craft of writing.
It is one thing to read about POV, plot turns, character arcs in a brilliant book on craft.  It's another to mold those into a WIP.  Obviously.  But as I commit myself to this career of a writer, I write.  And write well.  I'm learning as I write.

4. I learn my style for writing
This is not my style of writing but style for writing.  I am a seat of the pants writer, because meticulous planning bores me.  But, when I do character journals before I start the story, the planning becomes more interesting because the characters have already engaged my mind and my heart.  Storylines pop out of nowhere as I let my characters introduce themselves.

I have also learned that I am a character-first writer, meaning I need to go back to #3 to work harder on formulating an engaging plot.  Otherwise, these deep meaningful characters of mine eventually put me to sleep with their lack of action.

So, I write.

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