Hodgeblot

Writers

A 21 post collection


Hi Neil, I am SUCH a big fan of your work and wondered if you might answer a writing question for me. I am roughly half way through my first...

 •  Filed under Writing, Neil Gaiman, Writers

neil-gaiman:

I normally recommend getting to the end – even if you change your mind about something big, just keep writing your book with the new stuff in mind (and, if you want, any scenes you need to insert earlier) and then sort it all out in the next draft. If you stop and go back to the beginning, often you can get stuck in a loop. Whereas when you finish, and really look at what you’ve made, it’s easier to figure out what you have to do next.

This idea – just keeping going until you finish the draft – is the break through realization I had while working on my current book on Storybird.

I’ve done well with short stories and had yet to finish a novel. Now I’m 2 chapters from finishing my first draft of a book because I finally realized I should just write until it’s done.

How I've been managing to write a chapter a week on my Storybird book

 •  Filed under Writing, Writers, How To, Storybird

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I started a book on Storybird last year, a murder mystery set in Florida called Even in Dreamland. The book languished for several weeks at the end of the year, but now I’ve hit a rhythm with it. Since the new year started, I’ve been publishing a chapter a week. We’re all different – above all, follow your own path in writing – but here are the habits or ideas that have helped me write regularly in the new year.

Write a few words each day

One of the things working really well for me is that I focus on writing a small amount every day. I try for about 200-300 words a day. This takes me anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.

It’s a very small amount of time to spend writing, and even if I don’t feel it, I remind myself – it’s such a tiny amount of writing!

Live with the story and characters when not writing

Though I’m only writing a small amount each day, I spend a lot of time thinking about the story. Over coffee or lunch, I daydream about:

  • what happened in the 300 words I wrote that morning
  • what the characters are like
  • what they must being feeling as they go through the story

Basically, I give space for the story in my imagination throughout the day.

Draft in front of a live audience

I can’t say enough about the rush I get from writing this book on Storybird. As soon as I post a chapter, someone is leaving a heart or comment. I’ve always got a couple readers saying how much they like the story, and occasionally someone will say something in a comment that affects how I see the story as well.

Like a musician or singer riffing off the vibe from a live audience, my writing is carried along on the feel of the crowd around me. I don’t worry about getting the story perfect. That’s what re-writing is for. I’m literally drafting the story in front a live audience.

It’s both encouraging and exhilarating, and I highly recommend writing this way.

The Writer's Room

 •  Filed under Writing, Work From Home, Writers

The Writer's Room

This is old, from early last year, but I only just discovered it. I love seeing home offices, writer studies, or other work-from-home spaces. A couple of writers here are my favorites to read, so this is especially cool.