So much of the advice we all see about novel-writing is, “Just get your ass in the chair and start writing it!”
OK, I’m being flippant. What I mean is, “No. Don’t.”
There are two polar opposite camps regarding the novel-writing process: Planners and Pantsers (the former is obvious, the latter comes from the notion of “writing by the seat of your pants”). But no one is truly at either extreme of those ends. All die-hard Planners still discover and change elements of their tale as they write, and all Pantsers are planning some of the story (in their heads, even if they refuse to write down those plans).
I try to stay as far in the Planning camp as possible, for I am convinced that we save ourselves not just hours, but months (and years?) of frustration and pain by spending the time charting our story before we sit down to type our manuscripts. What contractor do you know who just “starts building” a house without planning out every minute detail? Why would we, (more…)
I’m an IT professional for a University… and daily am tempted to become a Luddite. Why? The mountain of evidence showing us that the 21st century has created a world filled with addiction to our devices. That unrelenting use is continuing to damage our attention spans and general ability to calmly ponder complex issues. [I’ll here stop myself from writing an academic piece since hundreds have already done that work for us. You can Google as well as I can, but I will give you just a few (in case you’re feeling lazy). ]: NPR, NYer, NYT, NW.
Aside from what is a crime against our minds (and ‘souls’ if I’m feeling bold [and antiquated]), I think it’s especially damaging for the work of creative endeavors. As I am charting a 7-novel series, I require many hours of uninterrupted musing. Daydreaming is not just nice, it’s essential. The power of our brains at work when in a steady, relaxed state is vital to the outpouring of a deep story. (Again, Google away, but here.)
Our addiction to being perpetually connected to the internet/playing with our gadgets robs us of this deep flow, which means that what artists produce lacks the depth and richness they may otherwise have had. The useful tools that are our many computing devices have the clear and likely danger of becoming mental termites.
As it relates to my last post, I wanted to share this video. I find it powerful in its understatedness.
As I preached about in my first post, the artist’s life requires discipline in order to produce quality work. This means that our time must be dedicated to our craft–a task which seems exceedingly difficult in the 21st century. The first obstacle is for us to discover exactly where all of our time goes. This generation, worse than any other, is inundated with distraction.
So I created this spreadsheet for myself in order to track what was happening with all of my time, and I am sharing this with you.
Download this and open it (it requires Excel, and should work on the OSX Excel as well). It will offer for you to sign up for Box. You can ignore it and just choose Download at the top. https://app.box.com/s/hyzw3yr0wyoer9muqx6q
Conscious of it or not, when we walk into a home we are in a state of mind which determines how we will react to everything inside of it. When I come into my own home, I’m only affected by anything out of the norm (the more abnormal, the greater my reaction would be). It’s “home”—I’m not there to critique the chairs, tables, pictures or lighting. I’m there to relax, work, eat, whatever. When you go visit friends (more…)