Bird By Bird

Sep 17 2009

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The toughest part of writing is to keep writing.

It’s easy to type merrily away when inspiration strikes. Ideas flow! Characters pop out of one’s forehead, full-formed!

The question is, will you write the next bit tomorrow? And more the day after? And again next week?

An 80,000-word novel is a Frankenstein’s monster of tiny parts added every day. Another five hundred words one day, maybe two thousand words the next. But this is accompanied by horrific surgery, as large sections are gutted and replaced with another few hundred words pulled from this bin over here, then carefully massaged and sewn into place.

So, a real writer writes. Every day.

I’ve heard of some writers who only write, say, once a week. I don’t quite believe it. There’s too great a chance you’ll miss a day. Besides, this is like saying that, instead of running for an hour a day, you’ll just run for seven hours every Saturday. The muscles atrophy, whether they’re physical or mental.

How to find time to write? You make time. I set aside 9:00pm every day to write. If I’m laying in bed at eleven o’clock or midnight and realize that I forgot about it, I get up, go into my studio, and write.

I wish there were shortcuts. I wish it was easier.

But every day, I write. And I’m now several thousand words into this novel, and I have a grip on it. I can move forward.

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