How I Write Words & Get Shit Done
I did math the other day.
I don't particularly LIKE doing math. Not because I'm a girl (thanks, Barbie), but because I'm me and I have trouble with numbers. But I recalculated it a few times and found that yes, indeed, I've written about 450 000 words this year in various novels and short stories.
I finished one new novel, completely gutted and rewrote to others (not revisions--I mean rewrote from the bottom up, into entirely new books), finished another new novel, am about to finish a third, started two other novels, and wrote some short stories.
It's a lot of words. Especially when you work full time.
So. How do I do this? Am I magical? Maybe a robot? Do I have copious amounts of free time?
No, I STFU and work. So here are some fast and easy tips to help those of you having trouble with output.
1. Count how many words you've written on Facebook today. Is it more than what you've written in you WIP? THEN GET THE FUCK OFF OF FACEBOOK.
I visit FB twice a day, if that. I try to keep up with my fan page first and foremost. Then I scan and see what friends are up to. And I swear, the same goddamn people spend all fucking day posting shit. Sharing every meme, updating their status four times an hour, getting into debates.
IF YOU ARE NOT DONE WITH YOUR WRITING FOR THE DAY, GET OFF OF FACEBOOK.
Social networking is all well and good but it's also a fucking timesuck. If you've written more status updates than paragraphs in your novel and can't handle the temptation, delete your fucking account.
Whiny Writer: "But you play on Twitter all the time, Skyla."
Yes, and I get my motherfucking writing done. I've written nearly half a million words on my WIPs this year. If I wasn't getting my writing done, I wouldn't be on Twitter--I'd be writing. I get privileges because I do my chores and eat my dinner.
Is it fair that some people can network and do other stuff and still get writing done? Maybe not. But whining doesn't get your shit done.
Need extra help? Get Freedom: http://macfreedom.com/ It blocks your internet while you write and the only way to get it back is to reboot your computer.
2. Beat Writer's Block with a sledgehammer and make it your bitch.
Stare at the page? Having trouble getting the words out? Well, suck it up, buttercup--so do I. So I set a timer and start writing for fifteen minutes, and get myself going.
Are there legit reasons to not write? Yes, there absolutely are. Do the odds say that your problem is a legit reason not to write? No. The odds say you're being whiny and lazy. I know this because I do it too. "I don't want to write today. It's Saturday and I'm tired and I want to see my husband Farkas in Skyrim and kill shit and eat Cheetos all day and I DON'T WANT TO WRITE SO STOP JUDGING ME."
Well, that's fine. If I don't write, I don't make my words. And then I get behind. And then instead of having 450K at the end of the year, I have half that or worse. Instead of having three or four new books done at the end of the year, I have one if I'm lucky.
So if you make that CHOICE and let *affects whiny writer voice again* "writer's block" bend you over and fuck you up the ass, well, at least have the decency to shut up.
Picture this: NaNoWriMo. Mid-month, I decide to switch books so I start from scratch while all my friends are approaching 40K. Then I suffer horrible wrist pain and can't work for a few days or I'll be laid up for weeks.
Monday, November 28th rolls around. I'm at 31K. I know I can't do it. Can. Not. Do. It. It's physically impossible. I work 8 - 10 hours a day. I'm tired and in pain, and it's not a weekend. Impossible. I can't even pry the words from my brain, I'm already so tired and clueless as to what has to happen in the book.
Well, guess what, honey? Even after I gave up, I kept writing. And writing. I wrote 19K words by 11:59pm on November 30th because I am stubborn and insane and NO FUCKING WAY was I going to let anything stop me. It was like a fucking boxing movie where the hero shows up and wins last minute, only way more boring and with more blood. And profanity.
Again, need help? Meet my secret weapon--my coach, my finishing move, what have you. Write or Die. I have the desktop version and when the words weren't coming, I set a goal and just wrote, and if I didn't, HORRIBLE THINGS HAPPENED. http://writeordie.com/
3. If you want the time, you make the time, slay the dragons, find the treasure, and beat the fucking boss level or die trying.
Kids/spouse/pets/family/friends/life getting in the way? Won't let you settle down and just write?
I'm sorry, but what?? Won't "let" you? Excuse me?
You are The Writer. You are called to sit your ass down and tell the best fucking story you have been chosen to tell--and something "won't let" you?
Writers all play video games now, right? So you're the hero in Skyrim or whatever. There are dragons to be slayed and guilds to rise up in and Farkas to seduce and marry (what??). You have a noble quest. A destiny.
But, you know, you don't have time. You can't go save the world because your kids need you to entertain them 24/7. Your husband/wife won't stop asking you things. You have to make dinner. And that show is on TV. And someone posted something awesome on Facebook. And look, you'd LOVE to be able to save the empire, but you have LAUNDRY TO DO.
No. Just, no.
You accept the mighty calling of being The Writer, you MAKE TIME. You teach your children to respect the time when your office door is closed. You tell your spouse that he or she might have to lift a finger and share chores equally. You decline spending every weeknight in front of the television and curl up in a chair with a notebook if need be. Your loved ones--if they do indeed care about you--will learn to respect you if they don't already. And it starts with you respecting yourself--building your own boundaries and taking yourself seriously.
You make your quest a priority--or go off and be a peasant and leave the dragon slaying to the grownups.
How do I do this? Well, I used to write when my ex-fiance was at work and I could squeeze in time. Or I'd give him the death glare if he bothered me once and then didn't again. Or I tell cute boys that no, I'm sorry, I can't go out tonight because I have a deadline. Or I tell my mother that I can't go out for lunch because I have work to do. Or I don't bathe for a few days and dishes pile up to the point they could fall and kill me.
If I want to finish a book, the book gets priority.
My other suggestion? How many hours a day do you spend whining that you don't have time to write/revise/etc? Yeah, spend that time WRITING instead of WHINING ABOUT WRITING.
I am not saying everyone has to write half a million words a year. Or a million.Or one hundred thousand even. We all need to set our own goals and find what's right for us.
But if you want to? Start by doing the above and then we'll go from there.
Now, gentle readers/writers. What are your tips for being productive bunnies?