Saturday, May 23, 2009

Zen Typing

I’ve set my timer.  I’m going to see what I turn up with if I write this blog entry in fifteen minutes flat.  I won’t fool you, I’ve written many of my blog entries in fifteen minutes flat, which you may have already inferred, Dear Reader.  

The secret of writing a blog entry in fifteen minutes is to turn off the inner censor and type whatever comes to mind.  Sometimes really interesting things float up from the subconscious, and on rare occasions you connect with something cosmic that you would not have if you had stopped to mull over what you were going to say.  

I do not expect this to be one of those occasions, but I find it an interesting and enlightening exercise, and I challenge all you writers out there to try it.

I have the same publisher as Charles, Debby, and Vicki.  As Vicki noted, we are not pressured to submit one book a year, but are encouraged to take as much time as we need to write a good book.  Of course, after the book is put on the publishing schedule, you do have to deliver, but by that time, we hope, you are well along.  This is quite a wonderful way to work.  However, you do have to have some self-discipline. Allow me to tell you what can happen when you have no deadline at all.

Over the past year, I’ve been writing on my fifth book in fits and starts because of my husband’s health problems.  On two or three occasions, I’ll just get going well, and some emergency will arise, and I won’t write at all for ten days - two weeks - a month.  Then things calm down, I go back to the book, and have to spent days getting myself up to speed and back into the zone.  

The book is now longer than any other book in the series, but it meanders about like the mighty Mississippi. I write a scene this way, then decide to try the same scene that way, or have forgotten what the point was in the first place.   This is not useful.  

I think perhaps if one doesn’t have a deadline from the publisher, it would be most helpful to set one for oneself.  I have been cutting and rearranging like a house afire for the past weeks.  My goal is to have the first 100 pages looking like something before the next hospital stay beginning June 1.  I don’t know if I can do it.  But like my friend, author Hannah Davidson. says, sometimes you can do your best work under the influence of terror.

One other item :  I was privileged to participate in the Virtual Writers Conference that took place last week at  My entry on plotting appeared on May 20.  I really liked what I had to say, which is interesting, since plotting is not my strongest suit.  I’m happy to relate that I am not alone among writers in not being a great plotter.  Louise Ure said that she only gets one good plot idea a year.  Of course, that’s all you need if it’s a hell of an idea, like Louise’s.

And finally, last Saturday, May 16, the Cherokee Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, hosted its annual Gospel and Hog Fry*, and...

Oh, crap.  Out of time.


*I am not making this up.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Oh, good idea with the timer. Maybe I also should use that philosophy with my Facebook and Twitter time, too.

I work best under deadlines. The ones I'm under now are a little tighter than I'd like, but I'll admit to being a lot more productive!
Mystery Writing is Murder