Friday, May 28, 2010

Marathon training starts with 250 words

For the past few days, I've managed to write 250 words or a bit more each day (sadly today breaks that cycle, but I'll have time tomorrow to make up for it).  This may not seem like much to many writers out there, but for me it's HUGE.  Why?  It shows that I'm writing on a regular basis.

Before starting my current novel, I was one of those writers (heck, you could hardly call me a writer then) who wrote on a very irregular basis.  I'd get a very vivid image of a scene or a character and instantly write it down; this was going to be my greatest story, the one that would get me places!  I'd write for a bit only to loose steam and leave the project on my hard drive to await the day when I'd discover it and turn it into the novel of the century.

I've recently come to realize that this approach to writing was only getting me closer to a little town called Nowhere - population 1.  Now that I have a story I actually want to slave over (will get into my insecurities over it in another post), I've come to realize that what I really need to develop as a writer is endurance.  Yeah, being a sprinter is exciting and exhilarating (hence why I write for #fridayflash and participate in NaNo) but it doesn't work very well if you want to write the equivalent of a marathon.  Marathons are not usually run on flat roads; they are set along roads full of obstacles like Beacon Hill and the pot holes on Rout 9.*  The only way to get over these obstacles without turning an ankle is to know how to keep running no matter what.

I see my 250 words each day as my proverbial marathon training.  I may not be feeling the story every day, but if I show up to the page and get in my 250 words, it makes the next 250 words that much easier to write.  After writing 250 words a day minimum for awhile, I'll start writing 500 words a day.  Then I'll push myself to 1000 words a day.  By next November, I'll be able to write 1667 a day (the NaNoWriMo gold standard) without breaking a sweat. 

Well, that's 385 words.  I'm gonna keep showing up everyday to my stories and just write.  Whether or not the words flow or grind against one another, I'll be there.  What about you?  How do approach your writing routine?  

Informally yours,

*Yes, this is a Boston Marathon reference.  I'm a Boston nerd.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I'm a Flasher! (of the fictitious kind)

A few weeks ago I found out about #fridayflash on Twitter and immediately jumped in head first (I held my nose, though, so water wouldn't go up it.  I hate that.).  Since then I've managed to post each week, a minor feat I am very proud of.  I generally wrote everything from the ground up Friday late afternoon/night, but it's worked out for the most part.

Having a weekly, concrete deadline to write for is really helpful.  It keeps the creativity flowing the way working on the same WIP all the time just can't.  And I love my WIP; she's still my favorite (though her brother, my new, possibly future WIP, is gaining on her), but her story building is much slower.  Friday Flash keeps things fresh so I can work on WIP 1 and WIP 2 without getting too frustrated.  

The only conflicting feeling's I've encountered about #fridayflash have arisen from whether or not I feel comfortable setting my stories free into the wild, sometimes unsafe, internet.  I'm the sort of writer that squirrels away her ideas for cold, barren winters.  I never give away ideas (like I've seen on the NaNoWriMo forums) willingly and when I do I second guess myself later.

Take last week's post as an example.  I posted a story inspired by two unrelated* events and am so fond of it, I'm almost sorry I posted it on the internet.  What if I want to publish it, but can't because it's already been "published"?!  But as soon as I though this, I realized I never would have written that story in the first place if its wasn't for #fridayflash.  When I look at it that way, it seems alright. 

  #fridayflash is me trying to get away from this secret squirrel thinking, to free myself by giving my stories away without worrying about the bad things that might happen (i.e. stolen ideas!).  Will it bite me in the butt?  It may, but I'm hoping for the best.

Until next time,

*a) seeing dragon movies and reading dragon books, b) noticing the fire extinguishers hanging over the gas station and wondering if I should write a story about something on fire at the gas station.  a+b = Marie & George: Hatching by Charcoal Grill Incubator.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Taking Care of Business

Hello all,

I know I haven't been around much lately - okay, at all - but that's going to change.  Really *earnest nodding*

What I'm trying to say is that I'm gearing up to make my comeback on the internet, this time fully focused on writing.  There will likely be some asides pertaining to food - well, "some" meaning "frequent" - but the focus will be writing.

From now on, I'll be posting on a regular basis both here as well as on my other blog Fictitious Flashes.  I plan on writing/venting about writing here on Informally Yours while Fictitious Flashes will feature short pieces of fiction written for the twitter feed #fridayflash. 

So, how is writing going? Eh, per usual, unfortunately.  I haven't been giving my WIP enough attention this past week, but I was able to write something for #fridayflash in one day. 

This week's post was inspired by a Revolutionary War reenactment I watched a few weeks ago.  It wasn't the Battle of Lexington (that's at 5am on a Monday morning), but part of the same battle.  The Red Coats - known as the Regulars way back when - marched from Boston on April 19, 1775 to Lexington and Concord, where the famous "battle" was fought.  The Regulars then turned back to return to Boston and had to fight the Colonial minutemen the entire way back.  The battle I watched went from Munroe Tavern through Tower Park.  It was the closest I have ever been able to stand to a reenacted battle, so it was very exciting.  For a while, anyway.  Let me tell you, battles back in the day were slow.  Lots of lining up, firing, and not hitting anything (muskets are fairly inaccurate).  But still, it was fun despite dismal drizzle and my ears ringing from all the musket shots.  I couldn't help but wonder what a minuteman would think of this entire reenactment and thus "The Battle of Lexington" was born.

Okay, I'm off to get ready for bed and to finish reading for my writing group this Wednesday.  Goodnight and see you around!

Informally yours,