Yes, I’m a lazy writer. Not while writing of course. When I’m writing I can usually go along at a fairly fast clip. Not prolific mind you, but good enough that I’m happy with it. At a minimum I write at least a thousand words at each sitting, though I’ve been known to close in on eight thousand from time to time.
My original goal when I first started my writing project was to hit between two-thousand and four-thousand words each week. That’s a minimum of eight-thousand words per month. Here’s the lazy part… I only sit down to write on my novel about a half-dozen times each month. The rest of the time I’m usually reading/writing a blog post or doing social networking on twitter, facebook, etc…
It wasn’t always like this. I had a much stricter schedule that forced me to work on my stories at specific times during the week. All that did for me was to create a bunch of crap that I either threw out or had to rewrite. My schedule now is much more fluid, though some might call it lazy.
But I am a lazy writer. Even if someone were to push me to write more often I know it wouldn’t work. I do what I want, and I always have. I’m a rebel that way; play by my own rules; screw da man.
So, why am I telling you this? Because I’m being hypocritical to urge the authors in training to write every single day. Sort of. That may take some explaining. Before I try, there’s a point I want to make.
Just because you do not sit in front of the computer every single day and work on your novel does not mean you are a loser. You may be called a wannabe writer, and that’s fine, go with the flow. You know that it will eventually get done – when it’s ready.
As for being hypocritical, when you’ve heard me say, “Write every day,” it does not mean you have to physically write/type words into your novel or story every single day. Some of you may recall me telling you that you do not need to be in front of the computer to write. “You Can Write Anywhere”
Write every day, even if it’s in your head. This is by far where I do the majority of my writing. What I refuse to do is to sit in front of the computer and start typing without knowing exactly how the next scene is going to play-out, and in what context it will drive the story.
I’ve read quite a few books where you could tell that the author had no idea where the story was going. There were few clues about upcoming events in the story, and while some might argue that it’s to keep the reader guessing or to surprise them, it’s a bad argument. Readers do not mind being surprised, that’s part of the fun. But, it works soooo much better when they have an inkling of what’s coming. Give them time to think about it; make them guess, then surprise them.
No, I refuse to put words on a page before I know how it will work in the overall story. I can’t just start typing and expect to get there. I don’t work that way. I can’t work that way, as much as I might want to.
So I think about it, working through the plot, the scenes and dialog in my head. I’m writing it in my mind one scene at a time, though sometimes I will jot down a few notes for fear of forgetting something – which I’m prone to do in my mid-forties of old age.
With that said, I do write almost every day. I just don’t add random or needless words to my stories. Those are sacred. Instead, I work on other things that require my attention. Blog posts are rarely one of them, but it’s always a treat when I get to do one. Social networking takes up by far the most time, especially when you include responding to blog posts that are on your reading list. I wouldn’t trade it for the world though. These people keep me motivated.
When I have free time I like to type short scenes that may have occurred to me earlier in the day. I have literally tons of ideas for books from doing this. Some good, some not, and more than a few I would kill to start working on. But I’m already working on a variety of stories that will be books someday, so I’m loathe to start on another one.
To finish my point, if you are working on a short story or a novel do not feel pressured to increase the word count on it every day. This advice goes against everything that people who call themselves real ‘writers/authors’ will tell you. I know this. I don’t expect anyone to agree with me. I’m out on a ledge on this one. And hey, that’s fine. I’ve been a lone wolf type for most of my life. I don’t need to hang with a pack to feel cool.
If you disagree completely I won’t argue with you. Some people are very gifted and are able to sit down and type without knowing where they’re going, yet end up with books that people want to make movies out of. A few of these people work on their novels every day, yet rarely end up with a book that’s not a bestseller with hundreds of thousands of sales.
Some people aren’t so lucky. They write everyday and push their story along, whether they have a plot in mind and have pictured the scenes in their head or not. When a reader gets a crack at their finished product, some are only impressed that they managed to finish reading it. A good majority of these unlucky writer/author types don’t produce work good enough to warrant having it on a bestseller list. Some do, most do not.
Here’s my little Buddha moment of clarity:
If you write in a random direction, expect random results. If you only put your best on a page then only the best will come to you.
It’s really that simple. I write every day, but I will only work on my stories when I can put my best into them. That takes time. And for me, I believe it will be worth the wait.