Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The New Year Bookolution

During this December I intentionally did not write a thing. Not one word of fiction. It wasn’t because I had writer’s block. Quite the opposite. I had writer’s bulk. Meaning, I was trying to finish as many projects as I possibly could at the same time. This made my brain cramp up and I was moody to boot.

There are writers out there, old and new, who have their own method of how they work. Some make writing out to be a nine to five job, only they are working in their night robe and monopoly pajamas rather than a suit and tie.

Hemingway wrote 500 words a day, Faulkner drank whiskey to inspire the demons, Balzac drank 10 espressos a day (might try that one), Thomas Wolfe wrote standing up. Every different method whittles itself down to a routine or an addiction. Sometimes the addiction to writing itself can be unhealthy for the mind.

Perfect example. It was a Saturday. I was over in Arlington Heights in a Barnes and Noble on Rand Rd, thumbing through some new releases. (This was on a day where I brought my laptop to break the ‘fiction silence’ but found that fate threw me a curve ball by me forgetting to bring the power chord.) Came across a book called Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King by Lisa Rogak. Now, I had already read the great On Writing by Stephen King which was part bio/ part writing lessons. As I devoured the first 20 pages, I came to find that this unauthorized biography held some interesting tidbits that were left out of Stephen King’s version.

One scene described that Stephen was so obsessed with writing that even in the process of undergoing a vasectomy, he ignored the doctor’s orders to take it easy and instead went straight home and, in a fury, was pounding out the story that would become Firestarter. His wife came home, saw that he was bleeding through the chair and screamed that he be taken to the hospital immediately. To which he turned and said,

“Just one more paragraph.”

Lord knows I don’t want to head down that road.
The whole point is to have fun with it . . . Not kill yourself over it.

So, in effort to find my own routine, I’ve decided that I will focus on one story at a time.
Hopefully that will help me concentrate on one thread and not several where you would find me tangled.

My inner voice is determined to write no less than 10 books this year, as part of my new year resolution but we’ll see how far it takes me. Not rushing it. What gets done is what gets done.

"There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are."
-- W. Somerset Maugham

P.S. Through determination I’ve finally been able to pound out some pages. It’s a short story about Grandfather clock and so far it is coming together nicely. Got five pages into it before I took a break. I may finish it before the week is up. That’s be a hoot.

No comments: