Friday, February 5, 2010

Just Write!

“If you really want to accomplish something huge in a day, you can't start by worrying and planning and mapping. You'll only feel productive and proud of yourself if you actually get a ton of words on the page. So to make sure the day isn't wasted, just begin by beginning.” -- Cynthia in How to Write a Story in a Day.
We’ve all been there. We finally sit down to begin writing and—blank, zip, zilch—brain lock. I’ve had days that I brought an idea for a story with me to my office, only to realize  after a few hundred words that my idea wasn’t a story at all. How frustrating.

I’m reading From Where You Dream by Robert Olen Butler. It’s a series of lectures he presented for one of his classes at Florida State transcribed and put into book form. He guestimates he wrote around a million words before he produced anything worth publishing. I doubt I’m anywhere near a million, but I’ve written my share of drivel. I don’t find this disappointing, though. Disappointing would be if I didn’t write.

I have a pile of potential stories waiting for me. Most are in their second or third drafts. One of them I’m anxious to get back to. I need to give the ending more thought before I do, though. Others I’m not. But that’s okay, too. I’m currently: developing a class on flash fiction for the 2010 Muse Online Writers Conference, researching publishers and sending out questionnaires for my Six Questions For. . . blog, and taking a fiction class. I’m writing a short story for the latter, and I’m currently three-fourths of the way through the third revision. So it doesn’t bother me that I’m not working on those other stories. I’ll get to them. The important thing is I’m writing.


Gay Degani said...

I love this whole conversation and how it's jumping all over the place. That's for the string shout out too. We received over 100 entries, last time we had 49!

Also want to mention Ron Carlson's excellent book, Ron Carlson Writes a Story. I loved it and it's can be a companion while you work on a story. Oh just realized I should post this elsewhere too.

Jim Harrington said...

Thanks for the reminder about Ron's book. I purchased a copy a couple of years ago and enjoyed it. It's time to read it again.