Do you think this blog is helpful?
I do, under a certain set of conditions. It helps me a lot. You have no idea what you never knew until you write a thousand words about it. If it helps others in the process, excellent. However, its true purpose is to help me.
And does it? I think it does, under a certain set of conditions. Unfortunately, the more frequent advice comes through this blog, the less often those conditions are met.
What are those conditions? That I write.
None of this helps anyone if I don’t write. I could write ten thousand words a day about character development, plot twists, and story structure, but if I don’t write, it all goes to waste. But wait… I’m writing ten thousand words a day.
I meant writing fiction. Story structure and character development don’t help essays.
Ideas are similar. If I don’t write them (or anything else so I can excuse not writing them), they don’t help. I can’t tell you how many novel ideas I have. Plot bunnies breed plot bunnies, and if no one writes at least one of them, they do more harm than good.
Social networks are the big killers. Whether it’s the blog, email, or NaNoWriMo forums (I cringe), it is the same enemy to fight. I honestly just spend an entire minute trying to look up how to say “I cringe” in Latin, because I thought it would be fun. That’s the problem.
Every procrastination, every distraction, every word in the Latin dictionary is there to keep you from doing everything you need to do. You need to write, or all this goes to waste. That brilliant idea you had last night for a story? It’s worthless. Your post on characters’ flaws? Trash. Everything you have done to lead up to this moment, everything you have taught yourself in an effort to make yourself better– it’s gone. You let things slide, and they slid all the way to the gallows, where they rot to this day.
This morning, I spent a quarter of an hour– nay, half an hour or more– looking up fountain pens. Yep. I just checked GoodReads, only to find that absolutely nothing had gone on while I wrote these 377 words. I had forty-five minutes of time to use the computer this morning, and I blew two thirds of it on a Wikipedia page, which isn’t even supposed to be reliable information!
I still want a fountain pen, though.
Writing Excuses podcasts. Doctor Who episodes. I fall prey to just about everything.
I broke a record recently. I dislike using new keyboard shortcuts to do things I could easily click on. I didn’t learn the keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste for years. However, to force myself to write without distractions, I have been using a program called FocusWriter, which essentially fills the entire screen so you can’t cut away to internet or other applications. By the second day of using it, I had already memorized the keyboard shortcut for minimizing the window.
Did you know I spent three minutes looking for the above picture?
My point is this: I am guilty. Clap me in irons, put me in the brig, but leave me a pencil and some paper.
Make that a fountain pen.
I am heartily ashamed of myself. But by the end of the month of June, I will have completed at least one novella (Phil Phorce 5), possibly two, if I write 5 and 6 in one go. It could happen– I’m already researching for 6.
You can hold me to it.