Blog

Moderation

M

Today’s subject, Moderation, is a difficult one at best. But it is so necessary for writers.

On those days when the writing is going well, you know the ones I mean, word after word flows out of your fingers and onto the page, its easy to sit for hours. Those are the days writers long for. Before you know it, 2000, 3000, 4000 plus words have been written. Those hours sitting at the computer are all worth it.

Or are they?

There are a few things in my life that I miss when I spend this much time with my writing.

Mostly it has to do with chores, laundry, cooking dinner, exercise and most importantly, relationships. It is easy for me to stay focused on whatever project I have going. These things can only be neglected for so long.

Another drawback to spending that much time with the words are injuries. When I worked on NaNoWriMo in November I struggled with pain in my hands from so much typing. Repetitive stress injuries are common with writers. I was glad when I was able to finish and my hands have healed.

For me the answer is Moderation.

The answer is in the word counts. Though I don’t write as many words each day, I do write daily. My focus is on a minimum of 500 words. Though I often go higher, I take a break. Do some of the other things I would miss, like go for a walk or meditate.

There are several authors who have a word count minimum for the day. Hemingway wrote between 500 and 1000 words each day. Another piece of advice I’ve recently read (Vincent Mars) stated that 500 is the minimum with 2000 being the maximum. Sounds like good advice.

Taking care of ourselves can ensure a long writing career.

How do you keep yourself healthy so you can do those things you want to do?

Lots of Words

L

As a continuation of my theme of necessary things for writers, I give you the following quote:

“Start early and work hard. A writer’s apprenticeship usually involves writing a million words (which are then discarded) before he’s almost ready to begin. That takes a while.” David Eddings

This is something I have had in the back of my mind since I began to take my writing seriously. The more words, the better I am at writing. I think I started too late.

As I sit down to write my only goal is to get the words on paper. There are times when I have to remind myself that shitty first drafts (thanks Anne Lamott) are a necessary part to writing. It isn’t about writing a masterpiece the moment you have a blank page in front of you.

“Read a lot; write a lot.” This advice comes from Stephen King in On Writing. These words are also in the back of my mind especially when I’ve gone a few days without reading something. I write every day and try to read everyday. I must confess when I run out of time it is my reading that suffers. In the days before the internet and all of the writing courses, people learned to write by reading others. This is still necessary.

Writing involves sitting down and putting one word in front of another word until the page is full. That is all there is to it. It is the irritatingly the most simple and yet the most difficult thing that I do each day. I am still working on my million words.

Where are you on this million plus word journey?

Kindness

K

For this week of the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge I’ve decided to work on a theme – What Every Writer Needs. Each day’s blog post will be something that has been important to my writing journey which I believe will be helpful to others. Today’s word is kindness.

Writing can be a difficult life. Harshness can make it even that much more difficult. It takes courage to put our words out there for the world to see. Kindness can make it a bit less painful.

I’ve belonged to a writing group for several years. It is a critiquing group and has been one of the most rewarding experiences. That is not to say that it has always been easy. There are times when a critique has been quite difficult to hear. The good thing about this is that this group always looks for the positive in a piece first before any criticism is offered. Any critique is focused on the work not on the writer. Though it is difficult not to take personally, for the most part it isn’t meant that way. This is a kindness.

By kindness I don’t mean gushing praise for a mediocre piece. Kindness means using words in a positive way to bring about change for the writer and the writing. This is what we all want. We want our work to be looked at critically and be given options to make our work better. After all we are all on the same road even though we take different paths.

What ways have you experienced kindness as a writer?