Monday, October 6, 2008

How We Do It: Two Writers Talk Technique

Caroline Leavitt and I have a pact. Each weekday, we are to write 1,000 words on our work in progress. Not on our freelance, but on our fun stuff - our novels. In today's blog on Caroline's site, I talk about why I think that works. Here, Caroline gives her own take! Let us know what you think.

A thousand words about love…
By Caroline Leavitt

It is a kind of love, this writing business, and Clea and I set up a bargain between us. Every day, except for weekends, we would pound out a thousand words on our novel. I’ve been determined to write in a more orderly way, since my last novel took me four years, and so did the one before it, and a lot of that time was because I didn’t write every day (life gets in the way), or I panicked about a bad stretch and stopped writing hoping something would rescue me. Or I simple didn’t write as much as I should have.

It isn’t always easy to produce a thousand words a day. Some days, I sit and stare at the computer and in desperation, rewrite a page from the previous day hoping to jumpstart my subconscious into creating something. It doesn’t always work. Some days, too, it is akin to root canal. Try as I might, the characters are so wooden they have splinters and the plot is so creaky it needs oil.

But some days, it works. Some days I write two t housand words. There’s a great satisfaction in getting those pages done, and the writing muscle grows stronger with this exercise. Lately, I’ve been having good writing days. The story is unwinding and I sit down with real peace, purpose and pleasure at my desk. I’m convinced this is from the hard work I’ve put in these past weeks, and my determination And it’s made me realize just how much I love writing—the whole messy, frustrating, insane, beautiful process of it.


Anonymous said...

I'm curious: what doyou write when you don't have an idea or a scene in mnd?

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! I'm going to be checking back to read more of these. (I've actually been reading your blog, Clea, for months, but this is the first time I posted!)

Caroline said...

I want to respond to anonymous. If I don't have an idea or scene in mind, I usually just rewrite something that I've done before, which almost always jumpstarts ideas.

Clea Simon said...

Thanks for that, Caroline! That makes such good sense.

Sorell Says... said...

Clea and Caroline you are an inspiration!!
G :)