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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Writing Anew

I've read many times in many places the saying, maybe by Albert Einstein, I'm not sure, that failure is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. I've been thinking about that during the past month or so, trying to determine if I'm caught in that vicious loop. I've decided that maybe I am. I've been writing the same kinds of stories (novels) for ten or fifteen years, and getting the same results, which haven't been satisfying. I know, many writers are successful writing the same things (thematically, or genrewise, or parts of a series). But it hasn't happened for me. Perhaps it's time for a change.

So, I've decided on a new approach to writing. What is this amazing new approach? It's following in the footsteps of Jack London. Write 2000 words a day, everyday, without worrying about perfection. Just get the story down. Keep writing. It's kind of like automatic writing, I suppose. Some of it will be sucky, some of it will be good, and maybe some of it will be great. But don't worry about that. Just write your 2000 words per day, come rain or shine.

I'm not sure I'll aim for 2000 words a day. My days are pretty cramped with life responsibilities, like house cleaning (yeah, I do some of that), chauffeuring my grandson back and forth to school, taking drawing classes (I started my second class yesterday), collecting art (I'd love to be an art dealer), blogging/reading blogs, doctor's appointments, shopping for groceries (yeah, I do that, too), and a thousand other things I can't think of right off hand (mowing the lawn, maintaining the pool, etc.). So maybe I'll be happy with 500 or 1000 words a day.

With that in mind, I did something during the past few weeks I haven't done in ten or fifteen years. I wrote a short story. I just wrote it. No worrying about whether it's any good. No worrying about which genre it belongs to. No worrying about anything other than finishing the story, which I have done. It's about 2300 words long. I'll have to get a Beta reader for it. But that will come in time, hopefully. I'm thinking I'll write some more short stories: just write them. Polish them as they are, more or less, and move on to the next story. Publish them as a collection, eventually, once I have a decent number written.

I'll apply the same approach to any novels I might work on or write in the future.

Yeah, I like the change. Hopefully, the results will be better.

17 comments:

Emily R. King said...

Wonderful goal, Richard! 2000 words a day, regardless of perfection, will be very beneficial for your writing. Good luck with it!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Great goal Richard. Best of luck!

Julia Hones said...

That's a good goal. Enjoy it! It will keep your mind very active, I'm sure.

Kelley Lynn said...

Smart man that Einstein ;)

I love just writing crap. Then I rely on my betas to help make it pretty ;)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Great idea Richard. If not 2000 words try for atleast 1200 words. Just get them down. I am going to do the same from tomorrow or maybe Saturday.

JJ said...

I’m visiting from Julia’s blog, and I am now your newest follower. Please join me at the Disconnected Traveler (http://jjbotta.blogspot.com/).

JJ said...

Richard: I follow the Hemingway plan. I sit at my computer for four hours every morning. On some days, I write a mile a minute. On others, I just sit there, with writer's block, but I sit there. As my mind wanders, the ideas seem to come.

Clarissa Draper said...

Those are great words of writerly wisdom. Tell us how it goes.

Also, I would love to read your short story!

Richard said...

Thank you, Clarissa. I accept your offer.

oceanfullofbottles said...

Hi Richard :)
I finally stumbled upon your correct blog.

I admire people who have the self discipline to practice an art regularly, whether it is writing 2,000 words every day or drawing or making collages or sewing or knitting... the list can go on for a long time.

I've always identified myself as a writer, because over the years through school and my personal life people have praised me and given me positive feedback, but in the end I see that I only enjoy writing when I feel like writing. If that makes sense, so therefore it is not discipline for me because I don't force myself to write unless I feel to do it.

I used to write screenplays and short stories, but I see that those were styles I played with. I feel to me writing is an outlet, a method for self analysis, so now I only enjoy journaling. I wish I could write more playfully, try again with fiction, but it's hard to begin and I don't feel I have a story I want to share. For now at least.

Well, that's my little reflective rant to your post.

Damyanti said...

I try to hit 100 words a day on my wip, but sometimes don't have much luck with it.

But I'm at 64000 words now, and perhaps that means I'm doing something right.

I did make the barest of outlines, but find that my chapters keep changing.

Richard said...

oceanfullofbottles: I've kept journals for years. They're great for self-analysis and general information. I don't write in my journal as much now as I used to. My blog sometimes contains information I would normally put in my journal.

I tried commenting on your blog, but it wouldn't allow me to. May have been a temporary glitch. I'll try again.

Richard said...

oceanfullof bottles: I've tried again to comment on your blog post, but it's not allowing me to. Says internet can't connect to the website.

Maria said...

Hi Richard,
I love your idea! It sounds great fun, do let us know how you are getting on, and what sort of stuff is falling onto the page.

Are you doing it freehand, or typing it out? I'm asking as I find this determines what sort of writing I produce.

The hand written stuff is always more emotional for some reason...

Good luck with it...

Anthony Dutson said...

Fantastic goal! And a good idea for changing up your routine. Natalie Goldberg talks about doing the same thing. She buys spiral notebooks and just writes anything and everything in them. Then at some point, she goes back through them and sees if she has anything usable. Seems like a very freeing process!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Richard .. you've got a lot on your plate and balancing that out with a 'new' project or idea .. seems a really good idea. Go for it ..

I thought you might be interested in Nick's anthology that he's putting together to raise funds for his step-son ...

A short story 500 words or less to be posted on 4th or 5th February ... could just fit you to a T ... and then you'd have a story published ... and a goal and objective - to help someone ...

http://nickwilford.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/overcoming-adversity-blogfest.html

Hope you check it out .. cheers Hilary

oceanfullofbottles said...

Richard: I'm not sure why internet is suffering with a glitch...:( I'll check to make sure my settings are all correct.