What is it and how can I get some?

Anyone who spends any time around the AW forums knows the first rule for success in writing is the “Butt In Chair” principle. There’s no “magic trick”, just sit down and write whether you feel like it or not, every day. I understand the principle, and certainly try to follow it, but it is something I frequently struggle with actually doing.

My biggest struggle is, what counts as productivity during my “writing time”? I sit, most days, for at least a few minutes, and ponder my various WIP’s. I take notes, draw maps, hash out plot points, research family trees, and occasionally write a few thousand words. All of these things are important for the progression from “half-formed story-idea” to “completed novel” or even “completed story.” However, every time my “writing time” consists entirely of plot-hashing or some-such activity I feel horribly guilty. Sometimes though, I just can’t make words come onto the page. Sometimes, the very thought of spending another minute with a Word-file open fills me with loathing. Some days my brain has used up its quota of “coherent word-strings” in essays instead.

This isn’t to say that I don’t actually write every day, because I do, or at least almost every day. If I’m not typing up a blog post for here, then I’m writing (or at least staring forlornly at) one of the many papers I have to produce on a semi-regular basis for school. I don’t always take an “either/or” approach to writing fiction or non-fiction, and have been known to bounce between the two in the same day. Sometimes, writing fiction gives my brain a rest after struggling through a paragraph or two for school. But at other times I just can’t focus my creativity enough to actually put anything on the page.

I suppose I shouldn’t feel so guilty about research and planning stages for my various novels, but I just can’t seem to help feeling like that’s not “real” writing. I’ve only recently begun to take fiction writing seriously though, so I suppose in a few more months I’ll stop being hung up on “real writing” and just do what has to be done. After all, there’s no such thing as “fake writing” right? So therefore there’s no “real writing” either. It’s all just “writing” plain and simple.

Happy May Day!

Thought for the Week: “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.” Mark Twain

Currently Reading: Fanny Hill by John Cleland



  1. semmie said,

    May 3, 2010 at 4:41 am

    I hear you. But I don’t think we can discredit the importance of the creative process. For some of us, that means free writing, and for others, it means mapping and plot development. Those things that encourage creativity are just as important as the actual writing.

    • Bookewyrme said,

      May 3, 2010 at 5:14 am

      Hey, thanks for stopping by! I appreciate having someone else confirm that the other stuff is every bit as productive as the actual writing itself!

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