Weston Ochse hit me with the challenge to list seven things I do when writing. I pass this challenge along to Gene O’Neill (Gene O’Neill) and John Palisano.
(As an aside, this should be a list of seven things I ‘wish’ I did rather than
what I actually do... the list would be so much easier to compile.)
1. I write whenever I can find some time away from work and teaching and kids
and other life responsibilities, but I find the best times for me are early
morning (7:00 – 11:00) or mid-afternoon (3:00 – 6:00).
2. Regardless how busy I am, I author at least one word every day. Yes, that is
ONE word; Meaning, if I’m stressed for time, I force myself to at least open a work-in-progress
every single day and add something to it, so that it continues to be fresh in
my mind. Ideally I aim for 1,000 words a day, but if I write only that minimal ‘one’,
it’s one more word than the day previous. Usually if I only write a minimal amount
over the course of a few days, I find myself scripting in my head, so that when
I do sit down for some hours, I let everything that’s been bottled up just pour
3. I allow myself ‘social media breaks’. Jonathan Maberry says he attends
social media for five minutes of every hour and writes the other fifty-five
minutes. During the social media break, he adds comments or tweets or posts (and
not just promoting himself, but promoting others as well) or adds to
conversations about writing. I attend this advice.
4. I drink coffee and water both by the gallon.
5. I always read what I’ve written last before I start penning something new.
6. I read the works of others in between my own writing.
7. I resent myself for not writing more, for not writing better, for not
inciting the world to herald me as the wonder of our generation. I fill myself
with doubt and suspicion whenever somebody gives me a compliment or an editor accepts
my story for publication. I think I’m terrible, then I think I’m brilliant,
then I’m terrible again (all depending on the weather, and time of day, and
what I just ate), and I tell the voices in my head to compromise that I’m somewhat
average, but to keep at it, and each day I’ll get a little better.
8. (Okay, #8 is technically beyond the limit of the seven-list challenge, but who
says writers have to follow rules?) I work on multiple projects simultaneously,
and eventually finish most of them.