Tuesday, 23 June 2009

New writing regime

(Aaarrgh! This is my second attempt to write this post. Save it, Claire, save it!)

I've been reading Stephen King 'On Writing', which I mentioned in a previous post. It's a good read - part memoir, part writing manual.

One piece of advice that stuck with me was on productivity. I have a tendency to fiddle about on the internet, write my blog, make a few notes and tinker about with a bit of prose and then call that a morning's work. It really isn't.

King has a regime under which he writes 2000 words a day. No excuses. No get-out. He talks about the discipline of showing up for work each day and getting the words down on paper. It's a training. He advises beginner writers to have a similar rule - 1000 words six days a week. (Only one day off otherwise you lose the flow)

Here's what he says about the job of writing -

'In an early interview..a radio talk-show host asked me how I wrote. My reply - 'One word at a time' - seemingly left him without a reply. I think he was trying to decide whether or not I was joking. I wasn't. In the end, it's always that simple. Whether it's a vignette of a single page or an epic trilogy...the work is always accomplished one word at a time.'

So here I am. New regime. No excuses!


Teresa Stenson said...

Hi Claire

I'm feeling my way into the blogging-sphere by reading as many writing-blogs as I can, and I came upon yours through a comment you left on another (A Salted), and your current post here resonated with me.

I read 'One Writing' a couple of years ago now (it must be the most recommended book 'for a writer by a writer').

I remember finding it compelling and interesting, but intimidating.

I read it at a time when I was having a bit of a crisis of confidence in my own writing routine, and initially felt pretty inspired by King's. But then when I didn't manage even 1 word of the 2000 I set out to do, I sort of froze for about a month and didn't write a thing!

Looking back, I can see it's because I was comparing myself too closely to him, in that I wanted to find it as easy to produce words (no matter the quality) as he seems to.

So, how are you getting on? (If you don't mind me asking, that is!)

Teresa Stenson said...

Oh dear, I typed 'One Writing'...

claires inner world said...

Hi Teresa, Thanks for reading and leaving me a comment! Actually, the results are really interesting - blog coming up!!

claires inner world said...

By the way, will check out your blog, too!

Also, have you read 'Becoming a Writer' by Dorothea Brande? I think that's one of the best writing books I've ever read.... And it came out in the Thirties!

Teresa Stenson said...

Yes - I have that book too - I love the no-nonsense approach Brande has.

But for some reason I only got half way through reading it - I must pick it up again.

I've just had a scan through my copy for a quote I half remember, something about how if you can't manage to write a few sentences in the morning then you might as well give up.


And I bet she disapproves of me not finishing her book yet, too...

claires inner world said...

Teresa - that made me laugh - I can just imagine Dorothea looking down on us and just shaking her head. Very slowly.