Monday, February 15, 2010

My routine for writing

I have decided to give you an insider's look at my writing routine. The entire process usually begins with me seeing something that begins to make me feel guilty for my lack of writing.

Step 1 - Shame

Today that catalyst was running across a website for an author that recently signed with a small publishing company that I have never heard of before today. In the post that I read he mentions that he started 3 years ago when he ran across a website that allows authors to produce podcasts of their books which people can listen to online or download. He stated that he has written 6 books in that 3 year period.

6 Books! I have yet to finish one book or one short story! Upon reading those words my pulse rapidly elevated, my mind went into a stupor of shame. I decided that today, yes today, I would write. And this time I will accomplish something.

Step 2 - Master My Domain

That is not a veiled Seinfeld reference. Though it would be frickin' hilarious if it was.

Interviewer: "You are a best selling author. Your writing has changed the world. We all have only one question. What is your secret?"

Author: "Well thanks for recognizing my ubertalent. And by the way, you have lovely eyes. That sweater really brings that color out."

Interviewer: Coyly turns away, but obviously flattered. "Oh stop it."

Author: "Well the real secret to my success is that I 'crank one out' before I write anything. It kind of gets out all of the anxiety and allows me to write at my best."

Interviewer: "Crank one out? Is that a writing term?

Author: "Writing term? Not exactly. Though I have been working on a chapter in my How to Write Best-Sellers book about it. No, not a writing term. It is a common action though. You know, strangle the snake, drain the hose, choke the bishop."

Interviewer: "Do you mean... That's disgusting. You know, I hated your book. I though your treatment of women was deplorable. And what are you doing flirting with me, you are married."

I master my domain by setting up my area. In order for me to write, every possible distraction must be removed. I clean up my desk. This take a while due to the fact that the only time I clean my desk is when I am ready to write. I get a drink and put it next to my computer. A good mix of 55% white grape juice and 45% apple juice. If I go with a 50/50 mix the apple overwhelms the grape and I get an upset stomach whenever I drink too large a mix of apple. The cup is set directly to the left of my laptop.

Step 3 - Music

A good non-writing writing session is fueled by good music. I prefer a crappy instrumental CD. One that I can't stand so I won't focus in on it. Every once in a while I will pull out something with a good driving beat to it. There is always a potential backfire of liking the music and getting caught up in a fantasy where I dream about actually knowing something about music. Maybe one where I learn to play the guitar that sits right next to my desk and become an uberrockstar instead of the uberwriter that I working on not becoming.

Step 4 - Purge the guilt through blogging

Accompanying any attempt to write is an overwhelming burden of guilt. If you remember step one, you are fully aware of this already. This guilt and shame must be removed. You cannot write feeling guilty!

Step 5 - Go check a college basketball website to see if anything has happened in the past 45 minutes.

Step 6 - Forget about writing

And that, my friends, is my writing routine. Thanks for not reading.

Friday, February 5, 2010

OK, so I haven't written anything since my last blog post. I have not yet even finished my dangling little sentence. I don't know what it is you expect out of me. I have managed to read another Jack Campbell book, Fearless as well as another Louie Giglio book, The Air I Breath.

I also finished Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder. The book was vaguely disappointing. Actually, there was nothing vague about how disappointed I was in the book. I was actually pretty bored with the whole thing. It is a unique world, but ultimately a lifeless one. Maybe it was the reader that made it so unlikeable. In the end, I didn't really care for any of the characters. The world never really made sense to me and nobody really mattered.

I have also started to read Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. For some reason it is preferable to read about writing than it is to actually write.

Today, in my attempt to be at least a knowledgeable non-writer, I looked up what split infinitive is and why you are supposed to avoid them. Apparently that rule is a bit dated and doesn't quite always apply. I personally like to frequently split all of my infinitives. The Split Infinitive sounds like a title of a John Brunner book that I once owned but never got around to reading.

Today I will write! I have time and I have quiet. Both are rarities. Of course I also have three books sitting in front of me now that are catching my interest as I type this. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and Why Christianity Must Change or Die by a left wing liberal nut job by the name of John Shelby Spong. Oh, what to do!

Your non-writing writer, signing off.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Worst writer ever

I am diligently pursuing the worst writing career of all time. While it may sound like an insanely difficult task to you, I must confess that I think I have a made a good start on this ambition. It has been my goal for the past decade to be a writer. If you know me personally, you are aware of this odd affliction. I have talked about it publicly and repeatedly. I have used my failed attempts to write in my teaching as an example of how not to go about being successful. I have cried over it during a few self-help type of seminars. There are people I really enjoy whose company I avoid so that they do not ask me about my progress. I have given myself over to flagellation over my failings, me and the Pope dude, me and the Pope. But none of this has been enough.

However, in the midst of all that, I still don't write! You may have noticed, that this is only the second post on this blog in almost a year. I can't even make myself write on my blog! Ugh!

So, I am committing myself to writing something, daily. I am currently working on a short story. I am targeting around 6000 words for my finished product. I have been working on it for about a month. Here is what I have, in its entirety.

I am about to become the King and I am hiding. The musty smell of the room assaults my senses. For the first time since being stuffed in here by my honor guard, I pull my eyes away from the door and take a look around the room. It looks like a pantry. There are sacks of something, I don’t what it is, maybe wheat or flour, piled on shelves. There are tight woven baskets with fitted lids between me and the door. I pull one of the lids up and it reveals fresh mushrooms. They are large and dark and give off an odor

You may notice a few things.

First, it is in first person. Risky choice you say. Yes it is I respond. A little self indulgent you say. Thank you I respond. Kind of sucks you say. Thank you very much I respond. Did you really leave off in the middle of a sentence you ask. Yes I did I respond once again. That is a new kind of lazy you mention. I just nod my head and move on.

Second, it is very short if you have been working on it for an entire month. Thank you for noticing that. I spend a great deal of time ironing out each sentence. Notice the incredible construction of the sentence "It looks like a pantry." If Shakespeare can state that "Brevity is the soul of Wit" I am well practiced practitioner. (notice the amazing alliteration alluding to my resounding writing skill) It is brief and descriptive. I intend to gradually unfold that the room looks like a pantry because, wait for it, wait for it.... it is a pantry. Brilliant, I know.

Third, who is this person and why is he hiding. Oh, don't get to far ahead of yourself. My muse must marinate on this vital information. It is to be let out slowly to gather your attention.

I would like to write more, but I obviously am a very busy person. Here is a brief list of things I did yesterday instead of write.

Read Dauntless by Jack Campbell. Read Sunborn by Jeffrey A. Carver. Read i am not but i know I AM by Louie Giglio. Listened to Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder. Burned copies of The Dawning of Power Trilogy by Brian Rathbone to listen to when I conclude Sun of Suns. I watched American Idol, Psych and my wife cuss at the State of the Union.

Thanks for coming, if anybody has come. Today, I plan to find new ways to not write anything, though I may finish my one sentence.