…Is to keep writing.
I’ll admit: having started school (a Master’s in Computer Science; My Bachelor’s is in Economics), continued working part-time, and attempting to be a decent husband and father (to a seven-month old precious little girl), I’ve had a very difficult time keeping up with my writerly responsibilities. It’s difficult to find the motivation, energy, and interest in writing my weekly blog posts (I’ve decided doing two a week simply isn’t feasible. I’m going to start doing one a week whenever possible), do my weekly Critters Workshop review, and do my nightly writing for at least 5 minutes.
I frequently feel quite guilty because I’m not doing as well at the above as I’d like. But everything I have going on really makes me feel torn in multiple directions simultaneously. There have been more nights when it took me until the wee morning hours to finally bring myself to pull up Yarny, start the timer, and crank out a few hundred words. And there have been nights when I just had nutt’in. I put my fingers on the keyboard, think of my WIP, The Unchosen, and come up dry.
On those nights, whenever they happen, I’ve given myself permission. Number 1, I’ve given myself permission to suck. Number 2, I encourage myself to simply–at this stage–pour out any and all ideas that come to me and explore them (it’s like drilling an oil well: don’t stop until the damn thing runs dry). Number 3, I’ve given myself permission to write nothing which has anything to do with the story. Sometimes Number 3 results in 5 minutes of me complaining about how much I just want to be in bed, or how tired I am, or how guilty I feel about not being a better husband, father, employee, writer, student, etc. Sometimes I ramble about how excited I am about something I read in the news. And recently, more than one night I wrote a couple hundred words about my attempts to identify the best laptop for my needs as a computer scientist and writer. Aside: I prefer Windows, but after much ado, I discovered that no sufficiently powerful, capable, portable, quality machine existed in the Windows camp. Consider the Dell XPS 13. It has a great form factor, excellent construction, and a reputably good keyboard and trackpad. However, by comparison to the Macbook Air the screen was said to be “not as good,” and the top-end XPS 13 only came with a last-generation intel processor, last generation of integrated graphics (Intel HD 3000), and only 4GB ram. Likewise, the Asus Zenbook Prime was well-reviewed by the “experts” but very poorly reviewed by actually users (on Amazon.com). Also, the 11.6″ Zenbook Prime with the 1080p screen has apparently never, somehow, been released in the U.S. Basically, there was not a Windows computer available at any price which was the equal of the Macbook Air 11.6″. The upcoming release of new Windows 8 machines may change that–but if history tells us anything it is that Windows hardware makers just DON’T GET IT. They seem unable to create products that approximate Apple’s laptops in quality, style, and price. Let’s be honest. I spent $2200 on a maxed out 11.6 Macbook Air, but I doubt any Windows laptop maker would be able to provide the same specs for that price: current-generation i7 Intel CPU, Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics, 8GB ram, 512GB SSD hard drive, and a fantastic keyboard, trackpad, and screen. My new Macbook Air 11.6″ should arrive by Wednesday morning! My only hesitation is that, while I’ve never crashed the operating system, in past usage of a Mac, I successfully crashed multiple applications on it every single day. Not very impressive. Solid OS, crappy applications? Or does the nature of the OS make it difficult to create resilient applications? Anyway, I’ll install Windows 8 via Parallels on it so I can run whatever Windows programs I deem necessary.
ANYWAY. Yes. When all else fails, I simply tell myself I MUST write for at least 5 minutes. Something. Anything. And I have for the past month. If you’re keeping score, via My Word Count page, you’ll note that the last month has seen me produce 21,177 words! That’s a lot of written expression! And, while it’s not structured since I’m in the unstructured, sketch-outline phase of brainstorming my book, a lot of it is pretty good. At this rate the sketch-outline/brainstorm of the book will almost be as long as the actual book itself when finished! Crazy. But, it needs to be recognized, that I am in my infancy as a writer. I’m still learning a lot about which methods and techniques work for me, and which don’t. So far I think the free-form outline process as been a great success. It allows me to simply open the doors to my creativity and let whatever my subconscious has come up with come out. But as a “newbie” at this, it will take some time before I discover my own unique efficient way of crafting engaging entertaining novels. What I’m doing now is a great way to start. I highly recommend it.
What has worked for you? Please comment below…