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So after many months; thanks to my significant other, I have managed to scrap together a functional desktop computer out of a miscellaneous pile of techno-trash. With manufacturing dates as far back as 1996 I had my doubts but this Shelley-like monstrosity fired right up with a little help from the good folks at linux and Ta-daa! “We are back on the air!”
Yay! No more struggling with child sized devices to confess my sins and genius with my colleagues out there in the world; my giganto hands are once again free to run gazelle-like across the savanna of a real keyboard. On the downside, I do have to rebuild stuff again but right now none of that matters because a back-up thumb drive with my work has already been downloaded on to the new system and that puts a smile on my face.
So I was thinking about creative methodology this week, in particular how some writers can plan out their work years in advance and other writers (like myself) have no idea what is going to come out until the words actually hit the page.
While watching Sword & Laser on the Geek and Sundry channel via Youtube; which I highly recommend you take a look at if you aren’t in the know already, and was fortunate to catch an interview with author Scott Sigler concerning his new book “Nocturnal“, his creative methods, and his future as a writer.
Great interview right? What blows me away is when Mr. Sigler talks about multiple books down the road, and how he has already planned out weaving characters that are secondary elements in his current work into upcoming work. This thinking is so beyond me.
When I sit down, it is literally like turning on a movie in my head I have never seen while my hands try to be quick enough to capture all these images before they disappear forever. The concept of stringing out a world like glittering christmas lights on the floor before even starting to work on it is an absolutely alien concept in my mind. How does one plan out a wildfire?
More importantly how does one learn this skill? Was this something Mr. Sigler learned from a teacher or professor at some point in his past or is it just a fundamental part of his nature as a writer? Can one learn how to plan out five novels in advance without getting so caught up in the nuance of world building that one loses track of the ultimate goal, writing a finished work?
A couple weeks back I read an article by a hugo nominated Sci/fi writer (I cannot remember his name for the life of me or there would be a link here) who talked about his writing mechanics and I found it interesting the way he loosely managed his schedule around the concept of putting out five pages of work a day. Regardless of length of time, everyday without fail this man puts out five pages on something he is working on.
So I decided last thursday; after finding one of the stories I wanted to work on was lost in format hell, to put his method to the test. With the exception of sunday (which was especially busy because of Frankenputer at the same time as my daughter being lovably crazy), I managed to produce five pages a day on thursday, friday, and saturday!
The hardest part is getting the engine started instead of just waiting for the mood to overtake me but after a little while the keys clacked away all the same. As of this morning, a story that was completely lost has been reborn in first draft mode almost completely finished. It worked…the process worked and an old dog learned a new trick, so if I can do it so can you!
Just do it! Find a comfortable place with your laptop or sit down at your desk and go Yoda on yourself. Remember, “Do…or Do not. There is no try.”