background preloader


Facebook Twitter

Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits vs. Literary Productivity, Visualized. “In both writing and sleeping,” Stephen King observed in his excellent meditation on the art of “creative sleep” and wakeful dreaming, “we learn to be physically still at the same time we are encouraging our minds to unlock from the humdrum rational thinking of our daytime lives.” Over the years, in my endless fascination with daily routines, I found myself especially intrigued by successful writers’ sleep habits — after all, it’s been argued that “sleep is the best (and easiest) creative aphrodisiac” and science tells us that it impacts everything from our moods to our brain development to our every waking moment. I found myself wondering whether there might be a correlation between sleep habits and literary productivity. The challenge, of course, is that data on each of these variables is hard to find, hard to quantify, or both. First, I handed them my notes on writers’ wake-up times, amassed over years of reading biographies, interviews, journals, and other materials.

The Foolscap Method. Writing Wednesdays By Steven Pressfield | Published: July 3, 2013 On the theme of progressing from unpublishable to publishable (and taking off from Shawn’s Friday post, The Itch), I offer herewith a few words on a technique I call “the Foolscap Method.” The Foolscap Method is a way to get a big project started—a novel, a Ph.D. dissertation, a new business. It’s a trick, but a very wise and astute one. It’s not just a technique for organizing one’s thoughts, it’s a way to outfox Resistance. I’m going to continue on this subject for the next week or two, as well as putting up a couple of ten-minute videos. What is “foolscap” anyway? The Foolscap Method was taught to me, probably thirty years ago, by my great friend and mentor Norm Stahl.

But back to the story. “Steve, God made a single sheet of foolscap to be exactly the right length to hold the outline of an entire novel.” This was not one of those moments that are appreciated only in retrospect. A wave of terror and shame broke over me. Untitled. Author Andy Weir Shares Advice on How to Write More. You have ideas for stories, but when you launch your word processor, you stare helplessly at a blank page. Every time you try to write, you end up spending the evening watching videos of cats on YouTube instead. Why is this happening? We’ve all been there. Here are a few things that might be getting in your way: (Do you need different agents if you write multiple genres?)

Column by Andy Weir, who was first hired as a programmer for a national lab at age fifteen and has been engineering software ever since. He’s always been fascinated by space travel and is a devoted hobbyist of subjects like orbital mechanics, relativistic physics, astronomy, and the history of manned spaceflight. 1: You don’t know which story to pick You don’t just have one idea, you have several. The problem with the above logic is that it leads to a stalemate. Solution: Write the first chapter of each story. 2: Stories are always more awesome in your head than they are on paper That’s the idea you had, anyway.

How to Finish What You Start: A Five-Step Plan for Writers. How to finish what you start Do you have a bunch of first chapters tucked away in a drawer – for seven different novels? Is there a folder full of abandoned short stories on your computer? Have you left a trail of abandoned blogs around the internet? Did your ebook fizzle out after a few pages? Most writers have been there … again, and again, and again. When I began writing, I spent plenty of time starting stories. Maybe it’s the same for you. No-one’s going to buy a half-written novel. Here’s how: Step #1: Stop Starting New Projects Believe me, I know how tempting it is to grab that new idea and run with it. Do it: Decide, right now, that you won’t start anything new until you’ve finished something off. Step #2: Assess Your Current Projects Take a long, hard look at all your current works-in-progress.

Is there anything that’s just not worth completing? Rather than keeping old projects hanging around, ditch any that have died on you: Make three lists: Step #3: Choose One Project to Focus On. 5 Opportunities to Increase Your Writing Productivity (Without Actually Writing) In an ideal world, you’d have many more hours to dedicate to writing. In reality, you carve out what meager “free time” you can, sacrificing things like sleep, a social life, exercise, a clean house, and quality time with friends and family. When your laundry pile resembles a laundry mountain and you haven’t hit the gym in a month, it’s hard to justify spending extra time working on something that doesn’t pay the bills (yet!). Until you can add hours to the day, what’s the solution?

(Can writers query multiple agents at the same agency?) Guest column by Donna Gambale, Philadelphia-based YA writer andco-founder of the First Novels Club website. The key is in making the writing time you do have as productive as possible. Here’s how: Every day, there are numerous opportunities to brainstorm about your project to keep it fresh in your mind and allow you to progress more rapidly when you sit down to write. (How to Sell Pieces to Magazines and Newspapers.) Top 5 Brainstorming Opportunities 1. 2. How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day.

When I started writing The Spirit War (Eli novel #4), I had a bit of a problem. I had a brand new baby and my life (like every new mother's life) was constantly on the verge of shambles. I paid for a sitter four times a week so I could get some writing time, and I guarded these hours like a mama bear guards her cubs - with ferocity and hiker-mauling violence. To keep my schedule and make my deadlines, I needed to write 4000 words during each of these carefully arranged sessions. I thought this would be simple.

After all, before I quit my job to write full time I'd been writing 2k a day in the three hours before work. Surely with 6 hours of baby free writing time, 4k a day would be nothing.... But (of course), things didn't work out like that. Needless to say, I felt like a failure. When I told people at ConCarolinas that I'd gone from writing 2k to 10k per day, I got a huge response. Update! Side 1: Knowledge, or Know What You're Writing Before You Write It Side 2: Time Side 3: Enthusiasm. How to Write a Story a Week: A Day-by-Day Guide. As a fiction writer eager to improve my craft, I’ve long wanted to try out the story-a-week approach recommended to aspiring writers by Ray Bradbury.

After all, he said, it’s impossible to write fifty-two bad stories in a row. For years, developing my novel took precedent over short stories, as I tried to fit any writing in at all into my schedule around work, family and the rest of life. But then I started freelancing full-time, and I’m officially out of excuses—if I can’t manage to find time for short stories when I have total control over every aspect of my schedule, I’ll never do it. So I started cranking them out this month… or at least trying to. But with some experimentation, I think I’ve found a way to get it done. Monday: Settle On Your Story Idea First, pick an idea to build your story around. Maybe you’ve got a running list of those idea spark moments from eavesdropping at the coffee shop. Tuesday: Write Your Opening Act No lies, it’s a lot to accomplish.

Friday: Revise Your Story.