“You have to open your mind but not so much that your brain falls out.” The professor at the front of the room perched at the podium.
Monthly Archives: May 2016
How’s the 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there coming?
What success stories do we have?
Were you able to come up with a new character? Kill off a villain? Figure out a plot point?
Are you still grabbing for writing time?
I attended LDS Storymakers and learned something about the writing process that’s helping me get over a hump. I’m trying to finish a complete draft of a YA novel before WIFYR (two more weeks!), and I realize that I have been subconsciously sabotaging my own efforts to make consistent progress. In Chris Crowe’s class “Sweating the Small Stuff,” he quoted Norma Fox Mazer as she described her writing process: “My method is to write a first draft in which I spill out everything. The inner censor is banished.” She didn’t allow herself to stop and ponder for just the right word or phrase. It was more important to just get the clay on the wheel first, then worry about shaping and forming later.
This is where I get stuck. That doesn’t mean that a writer doesn’t use a rough outline, a map that points in the direction your story is headed. But at this point, the beginning, revisions are nothing but distractions. John Steinbeck called rewriting during the first draft nothing but an excuse for not going on.
So how is your pottery? Do you spend so much time working on one part of a story, perfecting and polishing it, that you don’t even get enough clay on the wheel to make a complete and useful work of art? And now this part is almost dry but not part of anything whole? Let’s give ourselves permission to get completely messy when we are first creating. You can always clean up later.
Writing in little bits and pieces. Can you do it? Have you done it successfully, ever?
My dear friend, Laura Torres, wrote several VERY successful How-to books for Klutz Press. Her titles sold more than 6,000,000 copies. She is an amazing woman and an amazing writer, one of the most creative people I’ve ever met.
When Laura had two young children at home, she wrote a great deal of nonfiction. Her family ALWAYS came first. She wasn’t the kind of mom who locked herself away from her crying children. She was there every moment. And that meant she had to teach herself to write in the time given her.
I remember Laura telling me she wrote when she had the moments.
“I’ve taught myself to write in 15 minutes or less.” She told me this years ago and I still remember her words. And being in awe.
She wrote clean.
She wrote well.
She wrote quickly.
The results were amazing. She’s written A LOT of books.
(You may remember her work. Go here to see it. https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/27327.Laura_Torres)
Laura has since gotten another higher degree, is a grandmother (and expecting another grandbaby), and has made a name for herself in the world of writing for teachers.
She is, I think, the mother of making time, and making time work for her. Or she works with time.
Do you sit around waiting for lots of FREE time?
Or do you write in the moments at the doctor, at stoplights, while dinner simmers?
What can you do in 15 minutes a day?
I’d like to set up a challenge for us (those who want to play), for these last days of May. 15 minutes each day. That’s all we ask.
What can you do with that?
What does it grow into?
Does the 15 minutes become 30? The 30 minutes become an hour?
Are there hard scenes you work to, work through?
Can you tackle the scary stuff easier when it’s in chunks?
I’ll try to remember to chime in at the end of each day, ask a question or two (except on Sunday. I won’t check in then. That’s my day off from writing. Don’t tell Stephen King.).
There are nine days left.
What will you accomplish?
As an introduction: