It's Sunday night and it has just gone 11.01pm, which means I have less than an hour to write my 1,000 words for the day. (Reminder: you can view my daily wordcount in this public Google spreadsheet)
Now that I'm at day 16, just past the halfway point in my 30 days of doing this, I've started to spot a few patterns in my behaviour.
So with the clock ticking and nothing else I feel in a fit state to write about in depth and at speed, I'm going to write about what I've learnt about writing over this period.
(If this sounds like a cop-out, I agree. It is. I did just save some interesting ideas for other articles though, one of which is entitled "When porn went hairless". So I hope you can forgive me. A few minutes ago I was seriously contemplating hitting the sack and stumping up the £100 charity donation for missing my deadline).
Anyway, back to that roundup of my observations about the writing process so far.
On days where I don't meditate, the writing process seems to be noticeably harder.
I'm not sure the science behind this — but I do know that I haven't meditated for 3 days now, and that Im not particularly happy with my writing output over this period.
I'm hungry for real input.
Last weekend I found myself scrabbling around for my notebooks and sketchbooks, hungry for scraps of ideas, old notes, anything which could nourish me intellectually. I've started writing more notes as I am reading. Today I took notes as I went around an exhibition and then emailed them to myself to be added straight into my Spark File.
I've pretty much stopped watching TV since I began writing every day. What usually seems like a pleasant distraction feels like it is physically sapping mental energy from me. I guess TV is actually doing that most of the time, I just haven't felt it so strongly before. When I have turned the TV on, especially if the channel I'm watching has adverts, it all seems faintly ridiculous. Why does anyone in the UK want to watch an entire program about custom built choppers being constructed in some obscure backwater town in the USA? Who is programming this stuff? TV is weird. You gotta watch less TV James, way less.
You see a lot of writers give 'Read' as their primary tip for writing. I'm starting to understand why.
Magical things happen inside your brain during sleep.
A few times I've woken up in the dead of night with an idea popping out of my head. The best way to get myself back to sleep again seems to be to write it down... whether on my phone or in a notebook. On coming back to my midnight scribbles there is almost always something of interest or use in them. A solid 8 hours a night of sleep is something I need to be at my best.
Writing standing up is good.
I much prefer my home writing setup (MacBook on top of my bedroom chest of drawers) than any other (like sitting at a desk). Even though it hurts the balls of my feet after a while, writing standing up just feels better than being sat down. My spin is straight. I don't feel so comfortable, or so willing to slip into the distractions of Facebook and Twitter. Standing up and browsing Facebook just feels plain silly.
You can write in coffee shops.
I have always been sceptical of these stories of J. K. Rowling and the like crafting novels in coffee shops. "Seriously, how can a busy environment like that be conducive to writing?" I would think to myself. But on Thursday I found myself sitting with a coffee in hand, happily bashing away into my iPad. And within an hour I had close to an entire article drafted out. Actually I think I got a bit of a buzz from writing in public, if you can call it that. Ha!
If you can't write for half an hour without stopping on your subject matter, you're not ready to write about it.
A few times I've started to write an article but quickly found myself with 20 different tabs open as I frantically google for quotes and things I can't quite remember the facts about. I'm now recognising this as an indicator that I need do some more research before trying to finish the article. Or as my favourite author right now would say:
“Don’t ever write (a novel) unless it hurts like a hot turd coming out.”
Momentum is important.
Every time you stop to check a spelling or a fact, you lose momentum. Even correcting typos seems to break my flow a little. So I have been trying to leave some of my typos until the end and then fix them all in one fell swoop.
Seeing people talk about something that you've written feels weird.
I've gotten a little addicted to searching Twitter for links to my site so that I can find out what people are making of my blog posts. This weekend a few people haven't been agreeing with what I've written. I'm going to have to get used to this, I know. If you're one of the people in question, hello! I'm glad that you're reading this, even if you don't like it. In fact if you don't like it, even better, tell me why. Thanks.
Writing 1,000 words a day is easy.
Just imagine you are talking yourself. Do anything you can do to get the first few sentences typed out. After that it should get easier.
If it gets harder, you need to rethink your subject matter.
Or do some more reading and note-taking.
If you have time that is...
Writing 1,00 words a day on top of having a day job is not so easy.
At the start of this experiment I didn't have much graphic design to work on. So I could spend 3 or even 4 hours writing my 1,000 words.
This week was much much tougher though as I've been freelancing for a studio.
I've been trying to fit writing in first thing in the morning. Even 15 minutes or so.
And I've been trying to write on my lunch break. Which has proved a little harder as there have been people floating around me and I don't like the feeling of being overlooked whilst writing.
So... kudos to all the people writing whilst also doing something else to pay the bills.
Posted to life in 2013.