"I'm just going to write because I can't help it."- Charlotte Brontë

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Doddering Old Dogs and Shiny New Tricks

Because it's always good to shake things up every now and then so one's brain doesn't calcify and one's hot-bloodedness doesn't cool and congeal, I've initiated a writing experiment for this month of March. Nothing spectacular, just an attempt to up my word count by using two smidgens of the advice promulgated by author Rachel Aaron in her famous piece from last year so enticingly titled How I Went from Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day that I'm sure many of you already know and have possibly taken on board way before me. If I can simply add a few more hundred words to each writing session, I'll be happy with that. Actually, I wouldn't mind achieving her starting point of 2000 words a day :)

So this month, before I hit the keyboard, I'll spend 5 minutes before each session jotting down what I'm going to write in the hopes that I'll then rip through scenes that I've already sorted out in my head. It's worth a go. To keep the experiment imminently measurable, this morning I picked an upcoming antho theme, fished out a title from an old notebook that I've been dying to use for years, had a quick think, did my note jotting, and then off I went. I did not reach any spectacular heights wordcountwise in the 2.5 hours I worked, but I was satisfied with the creditable result. The best thing was that I pushed forward with the actual story, getting stuck into the unfolding of the tale more than I have for a long while instead of getting sidetracked by endlessly fiddling with already written sentences.

Also, in part two of the experiment, I'll take a moment before each session to make sure I'm enthusiastic about the project, not just going through the motions. And if I'm not, if I'm a bit blah, then I'll damn well make myself excited about it!

In other news, I ventured into town and bought a huge bag of  chicken food with the words luxury, organic, yummy, free-range and many other tasty adjectives printed all over it for the Chook. She'd better hang around long enough to finish it!


parlance said...

Great post, thanks! I hadn't read the article and I see how good the advice is. I'll be interested if you decide to post later about how you've gone with your two sides of the triangle. I'm going to try the idea of writing out the scene longhand, not worrying about bad writing, just getting it down quickly. I can see how it could be great to know where you're going before a finger hits a key.
The enthusiasm thing is a bit harder. It could be a great way of sidetracking the deadly effect of the Critic, who tells me my story is boring before I've even got it on the page. If I were truly enthusiastic (oh, what a high that feeling is), I could resist that deadly Critic.

Gitte Christensen said...

Glad you found it useful. I'll definitely post at the end of the month what happened with my experiment - whether it improved my word count and focus or whether I fell down and reverted to my comfy, old, established habits.

I'm thinking of the enthusiasm thing more as a mini rah-rah session to get the creative juices flowing, sort of like the build up one often needs to get stuck into hard exercise. Once you hit the ground running, you can dash past the Critic and on to the finish line. In theory. The middle of a story is always hard. It rarely looks as good as it should. But then it gets better!

Good luck with your own experiment. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.