I want to write that great tale - but when?

IJ
IJB
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:35 pm

Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:14 pm Post

You know, there was a time in my life when I did a full-time job with an extra hour each day. I walked to and from work, which was about a mile and a half. I was also technically a full time student, writing up my PhD. During that time I also wrote 80,000 words a month in an online diary and finished nine manuscripts, full size books of about 180k words each. In two years I had two jobs built for me to my specification, I finished and achieved my PhD and got those books out there.

I'm not boasting. I'm just saying that if you really, really want to write, you'll do it no matter what else is going on in your life.

This is a bit of a challenge to you. I'm not going to offer you suggestions because every one you've come up with reasons why it won't work. And I know when I do that, there's something else I'm avoiding.

I also note that the more free time you have, the less you tend to get done. I now spend at least an hour in the gym every day, I'm at networking events every other day, each weekend is so packed I actually have to book myself time off to recover, and I have meetings with web designers and publicists to negotiate alongside a course of psychotherapy and all the hoodoo that throws into my life. But I still write. And I get tons done, published, out there.

I used to write in my work breaks. I emailed the work to myself wherever I was so whenever I had a spare minute I could work on it. I took (and still take) a notebook with me everywhere.

These things can be done, but I think what you have to do is stop saying "I can't write blah because I have no time, blah."

If you really, really, REALLY want to do something, absolutely nothing would stop you. So if you want to write, sit down and write. Use all the time you'd spend replying to this post with reasons why you can't write actually writing something.

*Kick in the pants*

Joely xx
Driven by biscuits; fueled by tea.

User avatar
Jaysen
Posts: 6294
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:00 am
Platform: Mac + Windows
Location: East-Be-Jesus-Nowhere SC, USA

Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:15 pm Post

So you are say the the in laws are right?
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

ImageImage

PJ
PJS
Posts: 1185
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2007 5:05 pm
Platform: Mac + Windows
Location: Upstate New York

Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:38 am Post

IJB wrote:I'm not boasting.

You'll forgive us if we thought you were.
IJB wrote:if you really, really want to write, you'll do it no matter what else is going on in your life.

Many writers -- and several of them post to this forum -- fall somewhere in the spectum between obsessive and indolent. We write, we try to write, we want to write, sometimes we actually do write. That we do so at all speaks to our best artistic intentions; that we cannot do so full bore, full time, speaks to the real worlds we inhabit.

I am capable, for instance, of writing hours at a time, and would do so right now, but for the exigencies of real life. Siding on the east side of the house is unfinished. Brakes are failing on one of our cars. One of my daughters is visiting.

So. Would I rather write this afternoon than climb a ladder in 98 degree heat? Of course, but difficult as house repair is in summer, it is impossible in winter.

Would I rather write this morning than get the brakes fixed? Sure, but the consequences of driving with bad brakes are too severe to ignore.

Would I have preferred writing last evening to talking with my daughter? No.

Perhaps what I'm saying is that, while I'd like to write more -- I now average around 2500 words a day -- and can write more, I also want time for ordinary life. Keep the house looking good. Keep the car out of the ditch. Walk in the woods. Photograph sunset on the river.

Talk with my daughters.

ps
You can't conquer stupid — or cure it — with more stupid.

User avatar
Jaysen
Posts: 6294
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:00 am
Platform: Mac + Windows
Location: East-Be-Jesus-Nowhere SC, USA

Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:42 pm Post

PJS wrote:Talk with my daughters.

Daugditor and I are finally starting to see each other as more than a cost/income center. While I won't claim that we "converse", I can assure you that no obsession, no uncontrollable aspiration, no amount of aspiration will ever provide this kind of fulfillment.

Someday it will be mine.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

ImageImage

re
rebecca
Posts: 186
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:18 pm
Location: Oklahoma City

Mon Aug 02, 2010 5:02 pm Post

Paolo, this is just a suggestion, use it or don't as it suits you. I would:
1. Buy an alphasmart.
2. Pound away on it during my commute.

I do all my work, including my job, in bits and snatches. I just can't concentrate on anything longer that two hours at a time. Oh, I can force myself to keep sitting there and going through the motions, but my brain is going to be burning rubber after two hours.

Use the bits and pieces of time and you'll get where you want to go without even noticing the trip. I suggest an Alphasmart because it's the best device I've found for commuting/getting directly into writing mode/shutting out everything else.

Good luck and good writing.

IJ
IJB
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:35 pm

Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:23 am Post

PJS wrote:
IJB wrote:I'm not boasting.

You'll forgive us if we thought you were.
IJB wrote:if you really, really want to write, you'll do it no matter what else is going on in your life.

Many writers -- and several of them post to this forum -- fall somewhere in the spectum between obsessive and indolent. We write, we try to write, we want to write, sometimes we actually do write. That we do so at all speaks to our best artistic intentions; that we cannot do so full bore, full time, speaks to the real worlds we inhabit.

I am capable, for instance, of writing hours at a time, and would do so right now, but for the exigencies of real life. Siding on the east side of the house is unfinished. Brakes are failing on one of our cars. One of my daughters is visiting.

So. Would I rather write this afternoon than climb a ladder in 98 degree heat? Of course, but difficult as house repair is in summer, it is impossible in winter.

Would I rather write this morning than get the brakes fixed? Sure, but the consequences of driving with bad brakes are too severe to ignore.

Would I have preferred writing last evening to talking with my daughter? No.

Perhaps what I'm saying is that, while I'd like to write more -- I now average around 2500 words a day -- and can write more, I also want time for ordinary life. Keep the house looking good. Keep the car out of the ditch. Walk in the woods. Photograph sunset on the river.

Talk with my daughters.

ps


Yeah, I was totally boasting! :mrgreen:

And that last quote, you've completely misinterpreted :shock: :P . I am NOT saying that you allow the house to fall down around you and for your children to starve to death while you write. I'm saying that if you really, REALLY want to do anything like writing, you'll get it done AND do all those things as well.

Ordinary life is where you get all the inspiration for writing, after all. If you didn't have that, you wouldn't have anything to write about.

I think my point was that you can have time for ordinary life and get writing done, and that usually comes down to writing what you can when you can, rather than wasting time telling people about how you WOULD write the ultimate novel IF you ever had time.

My other point was that every time somebody gave the original poster a really good suggestion that would allow him to write, even if it was only a little tiny bit, he completely dismissed it as impossible. I was under the impression, because I've seen me do it as well, that when you're kind of scared of actually doing something, it's much easier to say that you totally can't, than trying your best.

So the post was a kick in the pants to say that maybe it's time for him to change focus, and work out why he's avoiding writing. Often when you start saying "I wish I could but I can't" and then when people say "Here's how you could..." and then you come up with excuses why that wouldn't work, you're trying to avoid something bigger.

J x
Driven by biscuits; fueled by tea.

ti
tinrobot
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:31 pm

Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:02 pm Post

Over the past six months I've written a short story one hour at a time by using my lunch hour to knock out a page or a bit of revision.
It felt like quite an accomplishment once it was finished, and the satisfaction will not be diminished if it never sees print.
(Still, a couple of bucks would jingle nicely in my pocket.)
Anyway, if you want it, you reach out and grab it by the throat and choke the living daylights out of it until it says, "Alright, alright, damn--enough already!"

User avatar
kirkesque
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:47 am
Platform: Mac
Location: Wilmington, NC

Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:22 am Post

When I lived in Chicago, I used to write on the El ride to work from Evanston to Lincoln Park. Between August and December, I did 160,000 words on my Southern Gothic novel (of course, the publishing industry has little place for a Southern Gothic novel of 100k+ word count that is not fantasy, not horror, and too much of both to risk calling—gasp!—literary; but that's beside the point). The train vibrations caused havoc with my laptop, but I got a novel finished. Journeying about the Balkans this summer, I left technology at home and spent time on trains and buses writing with pen and paper.

The opposite end of things is having too much time to write. Then nothing much gets done for most people.

If a story from the great cosmic reservoir needs to be told, you'll find the time to tell it or it will go away and find another faucet to flow through.

One thing is certain, complain about not having enough time long enough and "then one day you'll find / ten years have got behind you..." As others have said, if someone really wants to write, the time is available. I think a related issue with some people is they expect Inspiration to befall them at a moment's notice and a novel to write itself. Inspiration is, in my experience, something that the write goes out and hunts in the jungle of words and ideas. Hunt with enough regularity and you're likely to find it can be found when needed. But it's not something that sits around waiting for you to show up.

Another common black hole for most people these days is the time spent on personal emails, Facebook, Tweeting, or what-have-you. This could be story-writing time. It's amazing how quickly those few minutes on the internet add up to an hour.

Speaking of which, I have some hunting to do. :)

~k
"Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other.
It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words.
My language trembles with desire."
— Roland Barthes

User avatar
ptram
Posts: 956
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:43 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Recanati, Italy

Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:52 am Post

Well, another summer has gone. I have not written a single line of fiction. I have a long philosophical translation still hanging and looking as if it will never get to an end. I'm late with my ordinary job. I go to sleep when my eyes hurt. I wake up tired.

In addition, thanks to this thread I feel more guilty than ever for not writing. Sorrow is a great source for artists. I'm on the right way :-)

Paolo

(PS: sfSoundRadio is playing Lohengrin by Sciarrino. Maybe this is a hint I'll soon become mad. Ha, stay ready, world!)

User avatar
vic-k
Posts: 7135
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:23 am
Platform: Mac + Windows
Location: Protesting in the nude, outside ex Red Lion TESCO Store

Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:14 pm Post

ptram wrote:I'll soon become mad.

wadda y` mean...become!?

Smacks of The Emperor`s New Cloths Syndrome : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZYzbkk5X4M :shock:

This stuff is what you listen to, when y`re mainlining on ethanol, and snorting French chalk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOMIl3Wj ... re=related

Vic
As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

kl
klcorridon
Posts: 311
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:38 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Eugene, OR

Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:27 pm Post

At this point, if I manage 10k words this year, I'll consider that to be an achievement.

Sorrows? Oh, yes, beyond the comprehension of one who has not paid the price that I have.

So many of us great writers ( :mrgreen: ) have tragedy in our lives.
I may be an Idiot, but I'm no Fool...
For Maura, 4/7/59-11/21/09... My Muse, my Heroine, my Editor, my Patron. All that I have achieved as a writer is because of her.

User avatar
ptram
Posts: 956
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:43 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Recanati, Italy

Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:09 pm Post

I understand that there are words that should be used with care, in particular when one has no total command of a language. "Sorrow" should be one of them -- if not, actually, the most delicate one. Therefore, I must underline how ironic it was my use of that word.

To make things a bit more literary (and to justify my use of such meaningful and dangerous word), here is my hommage to all those who only experienced, so to say, metaphoric sorrows:

Tristesses de la lune

Ce soir, la lune rêve avec plus de paresse;
Ainsi qu'une beauté, sur de nombreux coussins,
Qui d'une main distraite et légère caresse
Avant de s'endormir le contour de ses seins,

Sur le dos satiné des molles avalanches,
Mourante, elle se livre aux longues pâmoisons,
Et promène ses yeux sur les visions blanches
Qui montent dans l'azur comme des floraisons.

Quand parfois sur ce globe, en sa langueur oisive,
Elle laisse filer une larme furtive,
Un poète pieux, ennemi du sommeil,

Dans le creux de sa main prend cette larme pâle,
Aux reflets irisés comme un fragment d'opale,
Et la met dans son coeur loin des yeux du soleil.

Charles Baudelaire


And here are some English translations:

http://fleursdumal.org/poem/174

Paolo

User avatar
ptram
Posts: 956
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:43 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Recanati, Italy

Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:15 pm Post

vic-k wrote:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOMIl3WjXc0&feature=related

Here, here! Wasn't I speaking about madness?

In any case, my own sciarrinian madness looks (sounds) more like this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5zBaJeF ... re=related

Paolo

dr
druid
Posts: 1721
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 2:29 pm
Platform: Mac, Win + Linux
Location: Princeton NJ, USA

Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:41 pm Post

My basic advice for wanna-bee writers is:

1. Keep a journal. Write in it several times a day.
2. Re-read it frequently. Add thoughts and revise.
3. Make an index of the contents.
4. Think about ways to link and re-arrange the materials.
5. Extract those bits and see if they become pieces of writing.

In other words, do NOT focus on the end product, "that great tale."
Instead, cultivate a process that encourages thought, feeling, and images.
Which may grow into an act of genuine expression, regardless of its form or content.
Otherwise, you get trapped into mimicry of products you think are successful.
And that kills off any possibility of original work.

Jo
John Dodds
Posts: 267
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:28 pm
Platform: Windows
Location: Scotland
Contact:

Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:25 pm Post

Sounds to me, from your initial post, you're too bogged down in the mechanics to write much. Trust the process, as someone once said. A lot of great writers don't even bother to outline - they just sit down and start writing. Usually characters will take their own direction, as will plot, motivation, and all that other good stuff. You can always go back and edit once you've finished. Saying "I want to" is death to a writer. As is "I have lots of great ideas for books." Just sitting down and writing is the only solution, even if you only have time for a sentence a day.