Friday, December 27, 2013

Persistence Is Key

Nobody is going to tell you to write a book. It just never happens. What usually happens is you get an inkling about maybe kinda sorta writing a book. It starts off small. Maybe you come up with a character or two in the shower. By the time dinner rolls around, you find yourself with a plot. Then a beginning. Then an ending. The middle is your job. That's where the real work is laid out. Because if you got a killer beginning and a dynamite ending, then its up to you, and you alone, who has to hold the audience for an extended period. 

It can be difficult at times.

Little trolls plant seeds of self-doubt in your head.

Is this a strong enough beginning? Why did I put that obstacle in front of that one character? Will this even make sense?

But there is one thing to look out for if you are a truly dedicated writer. And that is Persistence.

When I first started, back in 1999, I knew that I'd write garbage. I gave myself time to write the most awful work I could. Wrote 168 pages of fiction then deleted the entire thing. I also had four or five ideas brewing. Maybe altogether I had 500 to 1,000 words to work with.

There was this old desktop computer I had when I first wrote. It was bulky, black, an Acer brand. Thing is, this computer was incredibly slow. It wasn't new either. My aunt gave it to me because she was getting a new one. My writing ritual would always start the same.

I'd take the stairs up to the attic, turn the corner, sit at my desk, turn on the computer, then pull out whatever book I was reading at the time. Different Seasons by Stephen King was always a favorite. I'd read this book because it took 20 to 30 minutes for the computer to boot up. When it was fully on, I'd open up Microsoft Office, which took another 10 minutes, and I'd start typing. There was the occasional freeze which was annoying but would clear up after 10 or 15 minutes. 

So, all told, it took me an hour of wait time each time I sat down to write. But I didn't care. If a novel is intriguing, you'll become real persistent. Wrote 80,000 words on that computer. Now I sit here and wonder how I ever had the patience. 15 years later and I've already written 500,000 words. It just takes persistence.

Persistence is key.

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