Sunday Surprise


Find what works for you. Do it. Keep doing it until it’s natural.

If you find yourself stuck, ask if you’re doing what works for you. If not, why not? Did it stop working? Or did you just lose the habit?

If you lost the habit, pick it back up, and do what works for you.

In the past four days, I’ve dictated at least 12,000 words. I haven’t counted yesterday’s and today’s words yet, but I’m confident I hit 18,000 words, possibly 20,000 (some on another project, because that’s how authors take a break: we work on another book). Adding in the weekend before that, I’ve written probably 36,000 words in the past 11 days.

All because I stopped fretting and just got in the Aldrin Express and started driving and dictating. That’s what works for me.

That burst of productivity far outstripped anything I have written in months. The only time in recent memory that I’ve been productive like that was last September — when I jumped in the Aldrin Express, drove completely around Lake Michigan (1,000 miles), and dictated the last half of The Last Campaign.

That’s what works for me. So I’ll keep doing it.

Find what works for you. Do it. Keep doing it.

Martin L. Shoemaker

I’m often wont to say that plot is Soylent Green – it’s made of people. Meaning, people make decisions, and that’s what forms an overarching plot or story, not some external hero’s myth, not some skeletal framework of A to B to C. And that’s in narrative, yes, but it also translates to the real world. Science and history are both driven by people – their decisions, their choices, their observations and recordings.

Chuck Wendig

The main things to remember when asking yourself “How can I improve my writing skills?”

1. Remember, free writing advice comes from the heart.

2. But watch out for ignorant advice.

3. Beware of teachers who hold back vital information.

4. Even the greatest writers can be poor teachers.

5. When seeking wisdom, search widely. Test the advice.

– David Farland

Tonight I read a story by an author. A really old idea, one I had seen a hundred times and rejected almost a hundred times. But the difference?

I had not seen this story, this idea done by this author before.

Understand that simple statement?

I had seen the plot, a very old plot, and the setting, a very old setting, hundreds of times. Cliche didn’t begin to describe it, and normally I would have stopped reading when it became clear it was going to be the same as all the others because the writer was imitating and rewriting. But this writer allowed personality and voice, both author and character, to come through the story from the first moment. And what was old to me became new and wonderful.

Each of us is what makes a story unique.

It is the writer that creates a story that will sell. Not some genre or some sort of plot or some sort of secret marketing handshake. Nope, it is the writer, if the writer allows himself to be in the story with the character.

Dean Wesley Smith

If you think about things like questioning the premise of, let’s say for instance, ‘writers write.’ Some writers think and some writers need to think to write. If I’m forcing myself to write just because somebody said writers write and it felt very resonant to me or they believed it a lot, they had a lot of certainty about it and I never think to question like, ‘Does that actually work for me?’

Or, ‘You can’t edit a blank page,’ is another one. People edit blank pages in their head all the time. It’s just, for about 50% of people, we found editing a blank page does not actually help them be more productive. But for about 50% of writers, it does help you be more productive if you allow yourself to edit before you write.

So there’s so much of this advice that we hear for writers that we just accept without thinking about it because the person who is telling us is either very certain and worth sensing their emotions of certainty or they sound smart or they’re successful. We assume if they’re successful, we should listen to what they say.

And, again, it’s not to say no one should give advice. That’s definitely not what I’m saying. It’s to say, when it doesn’t work for you as an individual, don’t assume you’re at fault and you’re stupid or unmotivated. Assume that that advice is not for you because no advice is for everyone.

Becca Syme

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