“I feel the need to swing away from constant explanations. I want to run away from too much consciousness, too much awareness. At night, I seek dancing friendships, nature, forgetfullness, music, or sleep”—Anais Nin (via 15natives)
“A person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside, allowing him to grow. Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.”—Frank Herbert (via lastwaltzinvienna)
“I don’t think man was meant to attain happiness so easily. Happiness is like those palaces in fairy tales whose gates are guarded by dragons: we must fight in order to conquer it.”—Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo (via totastelifetwice)
“I think that most of us, anyway, read these stories that we know are not “true” because we’re hungry for another kind of truth: the mythic truth about human nature in general, the particular truth about those life-communities that define our own identity, and the most specific truth of all: our own self-story. Fiction, because it is not about someone who lived in the real world, always has the possibility of being about oneself.”—Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game)
Easier said than done, right? Here are some suggestions for making it happen.
1. Commit to writing for at least two hours every day. (Why? Because 1½ to 2 hours is the maximum that most of us can endure mentally and physically before needing a break.) So write for at least 90 minutes without getting up from your chair. Seriously. No breaks, no distractions, no getting everything else done first. And especially no e-mail and Facebook.
2. Write every day for two weeks. For most of us, that is enough to make it a habit. And I promise that if you do this, you’ll find out how much more productive you become as a writer. Try it.
3. What to do when you have holidays to observe and celebrate? Or when you are too ill to write? Or when you can’t possibly find even 90 minutes in your day to write? That is when you must write even 15 minutes each day. No matter how tired or busy or even sick you are, write 15 minutes each day. Here’s why this works:
- The hardest part of writing is getting started. We amateurs procrastinate minutes, hours, and days. (The pros – some of the best and most prolific writers – report procrastinating weeks and even years.) We’re afraid we won’t have anything to write. We’re afraid that what we write will be terrible. We’re afraid we’re not up to the real pain that good writing requires. For some of us, it’s only when the pain of what we would lose by not writing – fellowships, degree completion, book contracts, jobs – feels more real than the pain of actually writing that we even begin to write.
- If you make yourself write 15 minutes a day, you have overcome the biggest hurdle – getting started. I’ve never known anyone with the goal of writing 15 minutes a day actually limit writing to just that 15 minutes. Once you start, I promise you won’t watch the clock. You’ll write for 30, 60, even 90 minutes before you realize it. (The trick is that you tell yourself you only have to write for 15 minutes and that you can endure anything for that long. Once you start to write, the anxiety will begin to disappear and you’ll write longer.)
- Writing everyday contributes to continuity of your thinking and generating the ideas you need to write. Your mind will function differently when you write every day. We all think about our writing every day. But the cognitive processes involved in writing are different from those involved in thinking. Your project moves forward when you write… even if you write a gosh-awful first draft.”—Break Writers’ group, Columbia University (via writingadvice)
“In theory, I work an eight-hour day and a five-day week which means I can socialise with my pals who mostly have normal jobs like teaching and computer programming. But in practice, if I wake up at 4am thinking about the book then I get up and start writing. Which is good because then I can finish my allocation of words for the day by breakfast and have the day off.”
“I usually spend between three and six months planning the next novel. I do need to have it fairly well mapped out before I start, otherwise I end up writing several thousand words of rubbish. The preparation is all about trying to work out what’s going to happen.”
Writing advice: Writing is like everything else: the more you do it the better you get. Don’t try to be perfect as you go along, just get to the end of tha damn thing. Accept imperfections. Get it finished and then you can go back. If you try and polish every sentence there’s a chance you’ll never get past the first chapter.
“I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”—Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner (via temp0rale)