Tuesday, 12 June 2012

15 Habits - Update

On Wednesday, I discussed the fact that I'm starting Jeff Goins' 15 Habits for Great Writers series. Jeff's running a post every week day for three weeks, and as I said I'd do periodic updates, that's what this post is about!

Day Two (Wednesday) of the series was all about belief, and I was supposed to get up two hours early to write. As I said in my introductory post about the series, I really can't build that into my day, and I don't want to make writing something that will induce stress. A lot of writing coaches add caveats about making sacrifices and airily say "Oh just get up earlier" but that's not always possible - and it isn't helpful when they act as though you're not serious about your craft if such an endeavour won't fit into your shcedule. Sorry, but emotional blackmail is not a good motivational tool. Instead, I said I'd write for an hour - and I did. I added just over 1k words to my work in progress, which I consider to be a good achievement. I'm really pleased with the direction it's taking, although I sometimes worry it's taking on a mind of its own.

Day Three (Thursday) was all about initiative, and the challenge was to "start something you're scared of". Well I'm not a beginner writer and I have projects on the go as it is, so I took the opportunity to just add more words to my work in progress. By this point, I was beginning to wonder exactly how much use I was going to get out of the series since a lot of the tasks seem to be geared towards those who are just starting out on their writing career. Still, if it keeps me writing, then it can't be all bad. Getting the words out of my head and onto paper is the ultimate goal here.

Day Four (Friday) was all about practice, and Jeff suggested that everyone stop talking about writing, and get on with it. His suggestions were to pitch a magazine you want to write for, ask a friend (or stranger) to guest post on his/her blog, publish something on your blog you’ve never shared with anyone, or submit that book proposal. Trouble is, that's all stuff I do anyway! So I chose to just do the "get on with it" part and kept writing. The work in progress is turning out to be rather exciting.

Day Five (Monday) was all about preparation. Jeff talked about the need to actually get things out there, and get things moving. His biggest thing was "Ship something. Anything. It doesn’t matter how bad it is, just put it out there." Sadly, I disagree with him on this point. I am NOT going to put something terrible out there, just to have something available. That's the quickest and easiest way to completely destroy the fragile reputation of self-publishing - which so many people already think leads to shoddy workmanship and poor quality. So instead I shall do as the title of the post suggests and continue to prepare my work in progress. If people want to buy my work, they can choose Checkmate & Other Stories, The First Tale, or The Guns of Retribution.

Day Six (Today) was oddly about stealing. Jeff's theory is that good writers copy, and great writers steal. As he says, we're constantly borrowing from what's around us, which we mash up and regurgitate in our own fashion. So the day's task is to "give up on your pursuit of originality and genius and just find something that inspires you. Borrow from your friends and heroes and mash it all up into something that looks, feels, and sounds like you." Problem - I've been doing this long enough now that I already have my own style, and a way of working, that suits me. Can you guess how I'm going to approach the task? Yep, I'm just going to add more to the work in progress...

2 comments:

Tony Noland said...

Perhaps the "get something out there" is intended for a story as a blog post? To get over the fear of showing people your work?

Jen Brubacher said...

Heh! I think it's possible you're beyond this programme. I mean, it seems like you've learned a lot of lessons already. I'll be interested to see if any of them give you anything new.

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