Posts filed under ‘Habits’

How Do You Write?

Two years ago when I got serious about finishing more than the first chapter of the first book I started many years ago…I changed my writing habits.  I started, you see, as a horrendous self-editor.   Hours, days, months and years wasted because I couldn’t go on until every word of that first chapter was perfect.  An impossible, self-defeating, burdensome goal.  In the meantime, while I fussed and worried over whether to use “she leaped” or “she loped”, the characters from that first book were bugging the hell out of me.  I dreamed about the story, when I could sleep.  I swear a few of those characters tapped on my eyeballs from the inside in an effort to get out.   I tried writing short stories to make myself finish something…no luck, 1,500 words out of 2,000 and I was starting back at the beginning, because it just wasn’t perfect.  I was, quite literally, sick to death of talking about writing a book instead of doing it.

I started thinking about writing assignments in college, I always finished those and on time.  While I was usually unhappy with something, I had a deadline.  I finished all the stories I started when I wrote for the newspaper.  I had a deadline.  I finished the Evil Doctor’s book, first draft and edited, in four months.  I had a deadline.  So I set myself a deadline, 30-days (I write for children remember, average word count 35,000-55,000).  I did finish the first draft of that book and the book that came after it.  In there somewhere I started this blog, as an additional way to make myself just write without agonizing over every sentence.  In case you haven’t noticed…I rarely edit what I post up here.  I write like a maniac about whatever I’m going to and hit publish.  If I find a wart later… it bugs me to death, but I make it stay there.

Julianne is literally hitting the page like a wild fire, but these are ugly, ugly words and sentences.   This girl wants her story told, however, so the writing is easy.  I sit at the keyboard and she yells in my ear until I’m too tired to listen any more and wander off to bed.  The editing will be hard and tedious.

So, how do you write?

March 1, 2008 at 9:35 pm 19 comments

Random but Timely

Better living through Pharmaceuticals:  I first started smoking in basic training.  Smokers got breaks every hour or two while the rest of us tidy lunged airmen continued to pick up rocks on the drill field under the scorching, midsummer, Texas sun.  Being a lazy social soul, I joined the smokers, with every inention of quitting again once I got to technical school.  That was thirty years ago.   I’ve tried to quit, but I have one of those personalities that just latches onto things.  If I’d ever smoked a joint, snorted a line or shot something into my arm at any point in my life…I’d still be doing it. 

During one of our weekend meetings, the doctor mentioned a newly approved prescription called chantix.  My insurance covered it, so I’m giving it a try.  It works by blocking nicotine from getting to the sensors in your brain that control urges.  Its not addictive (remember when they used to give people valium to help them quit?  Jeesh), and there’s an activity plan that goes along with the program, things to help with the “habit” part while the chantix works on the “addiction”.   *******

The writer’s block passed when I woke up to bird song this morning, and a day filled with light.  Sunshine would be better, but I’ll take what I can get.  I finished the second to last chapter this morning and will start the final chapter tonight.  Apparently I have no choice but to move to Florida, Southern California or the Bahamas if I’m expected to write every day.  **********

I had a meeting last night that included a cross section of the town leaders with a sprinkling of common folk ranging in age from 23 – 70.  We were supposed to be talking about community improvements, but soon wandered off topic to a discussion of the difficulty our businesses are facing finding people to work.  That turned into a discussion regarding this new generations knowledge of work ethics and discipline which quickly dissolved into talk of the war in Iraq.  Those of us in the room that are veterans are seriously worried about the inevitable need of a draft.  Several of us are worried that the foundation of these young people that may get sent to war is not sturdy enough for soldiering.  Remember that those of us flapping our jaws about this subject are the ones that raised the young people who may be sent off to war.  We weren’t insulting our kids, we were chastising ourselves. 

All of us wanted to give our children a better childhood than we’d had.  We’re worried that we’ve made them too pampered, supervised and soft to make good soldiers.  Because while the military has been technologized from one end to another, all it takes is one satellite going down and our kids are fighting just like their grandfathers did.  On the ground, hand to hand with people who haven’t lived a cushy American life.   

February 27, 2007 at 11:02 pm 16 comments


The free-lance writer is the person who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps. (Robert Benchley)

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Shortly after I learned to use a spoon, I learned to use a pencil. Crippled by shyness as a child, I found that the things I couldn't say out loud, I could say with a pen, and then a typewriter. The shyness was overcome with education and age...but the need to write has never left me.

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