April 21st, 2009


The Power of Butt in Chair

As always, what I say may not apply to your writing process. It may even be a direct contradiction of your experience. It does, however, apply to me.

I am the first to admit I'm a procrastinator. I piddle around, I answer e-mail, I sip from the firehose of Internet updates known as Facebook and Twitter, I go and poke the cats, I stare into the refrigerator, and aimlessly wander the apartment. I buy Agatha Christie novels and spend the afternoon reading batches of them in the name of researching plot structure. I check my World of Warcraft auctions and then do a little fishing with my warrior. I think about cleaning off my desk and watch YouTube clips before going to take a shower.

So this month I told myself I would keep butt in chair and grimly resolved to do two thousand words each day. I haven't managed it every day - Norwescon derailed me, and then last weekend I spent too much time on WoW and not enough on the keyboard. But I'm going to say the experiment's been a pretty big success because aside from those five days, I -have- managed to produce 2k a day. I've finished a short story and moved the draft of Phat Fairy from 52k to, as of a little while ago, the 77k mark, which means I'm starting to glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel that is producing a first draft.

I think that's one of the most important things for writers to keep in mind. Writers write. Time spent reading boards or saving the Internet from the power of trolls or any number of other (perhaps) emotionally rewarding activities is not time spent writing. You can spend time working on your web presence or figuring out the font of your business cards, but that's also not time spent writing. Without actually producing words, you have nothing, no matter how many FB friends you have. (And without sending stuff out, too, but I'll talk about that another time.)

So I testify now to the power of Butt in Chair, I hold my hands up in the air to witness the presence of the Muse, and I look with vast satisfaction at that mass of words I've written and a draft that is shitty and sloppy and full of holes that are still being patched but which is going to be a lot easier to turn into a decent book than just an idea in my head would be.

If you're a writer reading this - go write. Go write something now.

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