Monday, September 6, 2010

"Fall" or "Rise?"

The temperature has dropped, and thus begins my favorite time of year.

There are several reasons why I love Fall. For starters, all my favorite clothes are long-sleeved. This is probably conditioning from when I was a chubby kid, but even now, I'm happiest in jeans and either collared shirts or long-sleeved cottons.

This ties in nicely with another favorite aspect of autumn. Two of my favorite holidays are Thanksgiving and Halloween. One for socializing with family over huge dinners. One for dressing up and gallivanting about the neighborhood. As a child, I'd get a pillowcase full of treats – Huzzah! And I got to dress up like a Jedi or Ninja to boot. Nothing could go wrong with that plan, until the year I got egged by high-schoolers. I was getting too old for it anyway, but a new friend had talked me into it.

Believe it or not, this time of year still triggers my back-to-school mentality. It's time to buckle-down, and devote my energy in whichever direction I'm committed to, usually some form of study. After a few years of establishing my family, my natural inclinations have bubbled to the surface again. My commitment to music has found an expression. After a couple of jam sessions with my friend Kyle, formerly of Breach & Entry, we decided to work together on shows. Once he gets the recording done, he's gonna shop it around, and it won't be long before we're taking to the stage. It's been a very long time since I've played a live show, but I have no doubt that I'll settle into it like a pig in whatever it is that makes pigs happy.

And, of course there's the flip-side of my creative drive: I'm writing almost daily now, though I've yet to reach 1000 words a day. I've taken the advice from several of you to heart (Hart? Cheers, Sister!), that it's more important to have a daily practice than to push myself to an arbitrary goal. I would rather not run the risk of making it a chore, and then making myself so sick of it that it becomes tedious. Naturally, there's a time to wrestle with it until the words come, but that doesn't necessarily mean I need 300 words of shite just to reach a particular number.

What does help, however, it to switch scenes. I may be able to push a thread for 350-500 words before I run out of steam, but then I can pick another character, and see how far I can push the story from their point of view. Does anyone else work this way? What are your tricks to move things along without producing filler?


  1. I like your way of doing things. I'm tackling a similar thing with my dissertation right now, I was struggling with my second chapter for days, then when I left it alone and started a new chapter, I did nearly 1000 words in a day :)
    What I find satisfying is if I'm able to beat my daily word count by just 1 word each day it's something.

    I'm a big fan of the Fall/Autumn season too. Hallowe'en is one of my favourite holidays, and now that I'm friends with an American I may be able to celebrate Thanksgiving this year too :D

  2. I aam not in a position to answer as I don't write books, I write poetry as you know then when I have enough poems suitable I get them published, though that involves correction and submitting a cover, But it's not the same as writing chapters like you authors do. It amazes me how someone can actually put a story together, I look forward to when you finish yours. Good luck

  3. Hi Will. I'm a fan of autumn too; and it also has my two favourite holidays - halloween, and guy fawkes/bonfire night - the latter for its unique englishness, its plain oddness, and my childlike love of fireworks.

    I started writing daily too this summer - it's working out so far. I agree that there's no point in setting abitrary goals, but it's good to get into a productive routine. If I run a little dry, I too tend to move over to another scene or story. Sometimes it's all about chasing that muse to whatever story it decides to land on.

  4. Autumn means winter, winter means driving in snow, and I hate driving in snow. LOl Pigs- hmm i think mudd makes them happy.
    I'm still working on writing daily, does blogging daily count?

  5. I don't know how you all do it. I thought I'd start a blog and write something every other day or so after being inspired by Will, and I find myself desperate for ideas, about what to write about, and here you all are, writing novels as well as blogging.

  6. I think I just produce filler to keep writing and then edit it out later.

  7. Will: I'm lucky enough to have been able to stay home and write since the start of the year. It has been wonderful. In the beginning, I said I would do 1000 words a day but was happy with close to it, and on the days I wrote 1500 words or more, I felt made up for the days I could only squeak out 600. Having said that, after being able to quit my "day job" (for now), each month got easier and easier to write not only 1000 words, but well beyond that on some days. So, now I don't even worry what the count is, I can usually get into a groove and produce enough.

    As far as moving things along. If I don't want to write the "connective tissue", I go on to some major event that I know is coming up and get it down while it is fresh, then I go back and "fill in the blanks". I tend to be big on dialogue and deep into what's going on with the characters that sometimes I'll just take a whole day to edit to make sure that I've actually got "enough" description of scenery and surroundings, sometimes I forget that my world is familiar to me, but not be to my readers. I don't like being long-winded on description, so sometimes I actually have to force myself to put enough in.

  8. Hi Will .. yes - the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness time is catching up .. I love the tale of you cavorting around the neighbourhood at Halloween ..

    Enjoy the time and I'm sure the stories will come and tie together .. Hilary

  9. YAY for daily writing! Even a page a day is a book in a year! Good for you, Will!

    I like fall, but I liked it better when I lived somewhere that the pending winter wasn't so intimidating, and that the summer was long enough to get tired of it. I do like the new beginnings aspect, though!

  10. I'm hoping it triggers my back to school mentality...

  11. I can so identify with you here--cooler weather, long sleeved shirts, Thanksgiving. It's a great time of year which exudes memories of youth.

    I agree with Alex --- Just write and if it ends up being filler edit it. What should happen is you will establish a writing rhythm and habit and that practice will hone the skill, just like playing music. A lot of times when I thought I waa just cranking out dreck and filler I'd go back later and realize it wasn't as bad as I thought and it could always be tweaked into improvement.

    Tossing It Out

  12. Hey, that's so cool, you getting into music again. Good luck with that.

    I usually like to go back and forth with two different projects when I'm writing. This seems to keep my creative juices flowing, which helps with the writing. Also, setting it aside to read once in a while helps too.

  13. Its good to hear that your writing so much every day! Your playing live? let me know when and where I am interesting in checking that out. Also I agree this is the best time of year, and whoooo hoooo for dressing up and turkey!!