In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* Topic: On Routines
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
Quotes of the Day
“I do the best I can with every thing I write. … I just don’t care what others think about the final product and I have fun, and those two things keep critical voice at bay for me.” Dean Wesley Smith
“If you set a goal of 500 or 1,000 words and you keep it every day, you feel as if you have accomplished something.” Amanda Patterson in a post for Writers Write
Topic: On Routines
Note: If you are happy with your writing routine, you can skip this topic. But if your writing is haphazard, catch-as-catch-can — or worse, if your critical mind has taken over and keeps you busy figuring out whether to use a timer or not, or whether to use a word-count goal or write for a specified time, or any other silly mind games that keep you from sitting down and actually writing — read on.
We all have routines. Most of them revolve around recurring tasks that we have to accomplish on a regular basis, like doing laundry or cooking supper or loading the dishwasher or setting up the coffeemaker for the next day. You don’t really have to set those up. They establish themselves out of necessity.
But I’m talking here about desireable routines. Tasks you would like to accomplish on a regular recurring basis. Like writing fiction.
This is the kind of routine that, initially, you have to consciously establish. There’s no way around it. You have to ignore the critical voice and its silly mind games, sit down and write.
You have to think (as one famous writer whose name escapes me at the moment did), “All right. I’m going to write at least 1000 words of fiction, every day, before I do anything else.”
In other words, he made writing a priority. Everything else he had to do that day took a back seat to his writing. Everything and everyone.
So if you want to establish a new writing routine, first make writing your priority. Period.
Second, when the time you’ve chosen to write rolls around, write.
That will be the hard part initially: you have to be disciplined, or if you wish, stubborn. You have to show up. No excuses, short of your house being on fire at the moment.
But how to set a time to write?
That’s a little difficult at the beginning too. If it means getting up an hour earlier, do it. If it means going to bed an hour later, do it. If it means leaving home for an hour or two every day, do it. Only you know your own life, so figure it out.
Maybe you can cut an hour or two from your evening and transfer it to your morning.
When I started writing in earnest, that’s what I did. I transfered time. I started going to bed at 7 or 8, cutting out the time I’d been wasting on brain-dead TV shows that didn’t interest me anyway, and rising at 2 or 3 to attend my new writing habit.
Whatever you choose to do, initially when your time to write rolls around, your critical mind will play all sorts of trick on you. It will tell you, loudly, that “writing a silly story isn’t all that important anyway.” Or “You aren’t really cut out to be a writer. Forget it.” Or “Seriously, you made it this far today. You can start actually writing tomorrow.”
Even if you’re already somewhat accomplished as a writer, the critical mind doesn’t stop. It simply switches tactics. “You’ve written 20 novels. That’s more than many people write in a lifetime. Ease up.” Or “Is the story really going where you want it to go? Maybe you should reread it, maybe even rewrite it.” Or “It wouldn’t hurt anything to take off just one day.”
Ignore it. At your assigned time, push that critical voice aside, go sit at your laptop or pick up your yellow legal pad and pen, and write.
When my own critical mind starts trash-talking, I generally laugh and say (aloud), “Shut up and go sit in your corner.” Then I sit down and write. Simple as it sounds, it works.
You can do it. But you have to want it.
Today, about the time I was waking up, our friend and neighbor Diane passed quiety. Her husband was with her, and we walked over and visited briefly with him at their home across the road when we learned the news.
Maybe someday our so-called leaders will give as much taxpayer money to eradicating breast (and other) cancer as it currently gives to other, far less necessary endeavors.
Today will be a nonwriting day, except for this Journal, which I’m posting early.
Talk with you again soon.
See the comments on “Controlling Critical Voice” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/controlling-critical-voice/#comments.
See “Business Musings: Power (Contracts/Negotiation)” at https://kriswrites.com/2020/01/22/business-musings-power-contracts-negotiation/.
See “Occupations Throughout History and Their (Interesting) Names” at https://dustyoldthing.com/english-names-old-occupations. Possibly a good reference site.
For something really cool, see “Max Brand” at http://www.maxbrandonline.com/biography.htm. (Thanks, Alex.)
See “‘No Time to Die’: A Rare In-Depth Interview With the Keepers of James Bond” at https://variety.com/2020/film/features/james-bond-no-time-to-die-barbara-broccoli-michael-wilson-1203466601/. An equally rare insight into licensing and estate management, and some gems for writers.
Fiction words today…………………… XXXX
Nonfiction words today…………… 890 (Journal)
Writing of Algae Prime (SF novel?)
Day 1…… 2421 words. Total words to date…… 2421
Day 2…… 3312 words. Total words to date…… 5733
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX
Total fiction words for the month……… 54125
Total fiction words for the year………… 54125
Total nonfiction words for the month… 22740
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 22740
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 76865
Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… 1
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 2
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 46
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 199
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31