ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Friday, 6 November 2009

The Importance of Taking Notes


Day Five 5/11 - Thursday - Words 2968 (14,084)

I'm a great note taker and when I don't have the laptop with me I write furiously in my notebook. These notes often become very useful, getting me over a blank moment or three. I can flick through my notes and sometimes find just what I'm looking for, or just see an idea I can use.

At times I wish I belonged to the era of handwritten books, as there's something very satisfying about looking at a blank page of luscious stationary and making the first mark with a new, expensive pen, preferably purple ink. I'll never be Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte, but there's a romance to their creativity, propped at an old wooden desk at a window framed in dark velour drapes. Plastic and chips can't match that- but hey, enough daydreaming! Imagine writing 2,000 words a day on notepaper, then editing, rewriting, eek!

These are some hot tips from my NaNo region:

  • Work 'as if' - make notes and keep writing, going forward as if you made those changes. Later you can go back and revise. You cannot write and revise at the same time (especially in NaNo month!) It is so hard to turn off that internal editor...
  • Leave out subplots. You can add these later when you rewrite. Just focus on the main characters and plotline and race through to the end (keep notes of developing subplots; if you have time during NaNo you can go back and add them in, otherwise leave it until December...
  • Use the 80-20 rule to focus. 20% of your time/effort should generate 80% of your results. Know what you want to do and what you really don't need to do...
So far, so good. Had a great writing day yesterday, nearly 3,000 words. I spent the rest of the time (as it's my one day off teaching), to work on reading and collating info on my Muscular Dystrophy blog. Satisfying day.
Cheers out there in writing land...

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