Writing with Baby Challenge Week #5

Not a great week at all. 3 days, I wrote nothing.

Other 3 days, I only wrote about 50-100 words a day.

The total for the week is only 1800, bringing the total average to 241 words/day. This must be my lowest till now.

The problem is, I’m been busy with other stuff; and that wont change. I’ll just have to find another way to bring up my word count.

Till next week…

Writing with Baby Challenge: Week #4

So we are in week 4 of my challenge, which is actually week 3 of writing, as in the first week I only set the challenge, but didn’t write any words.

This week was fairly slow, including days in which I wrote little or nothing:

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You can see days with 0 words, or something tiny like 146. The average per day was 911.

Still, I am not giving up. My output will be low for some time, as I’m trying to do other stuff too. I was feeling a bit low, as it looks like I’ll never finish the book at this rate. It’s only some inspiration from commenters / Twitter followers that’s keeping me going…

Let’s see how it goes.

No topic this week.

PS: I blame this guy. Everytime I start work, he decides he wants to sleep on me. If I try to put him down, the fire alarm starts blaring.

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What do you mean you don’t have time to write?

So this is Week #3 of Writing with Baby Challenge.

This week (last Sunday to Saturday) I wrote a total of 10,772 words, or an average of 1538 words a day.

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The lowest was on Tuesday, when I only wrote 118 words. But I made up the next day.

The big deal I’m at a total of 24000 words, which means for the length I write (Nanowrimo lengths, around 50-55k words), I’m at 50% done.

Of course, I had 10,000 words already before I had the baby, but it’s still a good milestone to reach.

Topic of the week: You do have time to write (and without sacrificing sleep)

This week we will be talking about people who say they don’t have time to write / learn an instrument / do something else they love.

I have a question for people like that. Actually, a few:

Do you have time to watch TV, even a minute in the whole week? Then you have time to write.

Did you spend any time socialising, getting drunk, going out with mates? Then you have time to write.

Did you spend any time on Facebook, Twitter, or any other website not directly related to your job? Then you have time to write.

Did you just spend 15 minutes moaning about how you can’t find the time to write? Then you bloody well have time to write.

Yes you do. So stop moaning.

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If you have time to upload photos like this, then you have time to write

The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is this: Successful people know they have to make sacrifices if they want to achieve their dreams. So if you want to learn something new, you will have to give up something else.

BullShit Lie (TM): One of the biggest bullshit lie you may have heard, even said yourself is this: Oh I will just wake up an hour early.

The answer is: No you won’t. Maybe for a day or two, maybe even a week. But then the sleep debt will kick in and your work to start to suffer. You will be tired all the time, start making mistakes in your job/writing, the overall quality of your work will go down. A great book, if you need the science behind it, is Sleep Thieves. I highly recommend you read it.

You need your sleep, which is normally 8 hours a night. Don’t kid yourself that you can just sacrifice sleep.

So what’s left?

You’ll have to sacrifice something else you love.

Tv Time.

Socialising time, including time on social media.

Time spent out drinking/partying with friends.

It will be something important to you, something that matters to you.

Time is a limited resource, one of the only things you can’t get more of. So stop making excuses, and learn to manage your time better.

You have time to write. What you are lacking is the courage to decide what in your current life you need to throw away, so that you can fulfil your dream of being a writer.

Maybe you don’t want to be writer. Maybe you just like the idea of being a published author, of being able to say at parties, “Why yes, I’m a writer.” If so, that’s fine.  You need to make no changes.

For everyone else, this is a job. You get better at it by putting your butt in the chair and working.

 

The secret to writing a novel a month #WBC2

Ok folks, so this is Week 2 of Writing with Baby Challenge.

This week, I will give you the secret to writing a novel in one month (or in my case, 20 days). But let me warn you, there is no secret.

Writing with Baby Challenge, Week #2

So this week (over last 6 days) I wrote 5317 words. I’m hoping to average around a 1000 words a day. I use iDoneThis to track my word count- it’s pretty cool. You get an email everyday, and you reply to it saying how many words you typed. Saves the I forgot to note my wordcount excuse.

At this rate, will finish my current book in 2 months, which while slower than my previous pace of a book a month, is still faster than what, 90% of the writers out there.

Here’s a graph of how much I wrote:

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Topic of the Day: How to write fast

I know the title says a novel a month, but you don’t have to be that fast. Even if you finish a novel in 3-6 months, you are still faster than 90% of writers who take years to write a book.

So what’s the secret to fast writing? It’s my secret sauce, which you can have for 6 monthly payments for $99.99!

The truth is, there is no secret. Sure, you can learn tricks like how to type faster. I can type 2000 words an hour (only when I’m in the middle of the book and in full flow). Before the baby, I was writing for an hour and a half a day (in 2 sittings), and easily typed 3-4000 words a day. Since I go for short novels (55-60k) words, that means a whole novel in 20 days.

But even if you are a fast typist, you may still take ten years to write a book. The reason is very subtle, but the reason most writers fail. Not fail to write a book a month (or every 3, 6, 9 months whatever), but fail completely. They give up and go back to potato farming, or whatever it is writers that give up writing do.

The reason is this: They don’t trust their creative side. Their critical side, which is the side that has been trained in school to find fault with everything, to analyse and rip apart rather than build, is the part that takes over. The critical side is never happy with anything. No matter what you write, the critical side will find a fault with it (in the voice of your worst teacher).

If you want to write fast, there are no shortcuts. You just have to trust your creative side, and just damn type (this is a good point to mention: You have read my last blog, right, where I say that you should stop setting goals, like I will write 2000 words a day, because setting goals is for losers).

Trusting the creative side means: You don’t constantly second guess yourself. You don’t go back to your book and attempt to fix it the way your English teacher would like it. You don’t rewrite your book based on some stupid advice in an bad grammar book that everyone loves.

It means trusting yourself, trusting that the creative side of your brain, the one that has been listening, reading and enjoying stories long before your first English class.

What does it mean in practice?

All this is very well in theory, you might say, but what does it mean in practice?

Taking my own example, I finished a novel in June-July 2014. And from July 2014 to end November 2014 (about 5 months), I did not finish a single book.

Why?

Because I was trying to make it perfect.

I had swallowed all the BS all these two-book-success-stories had taught me. I wanted my story to be perfect. I wanted it to be in a genre that was selling. I wanted to write a series (because this is the new religion of writing) You MUST always write in a series. Otherwise, the locust swarm will hit your village and eat all your cows. If you don’t write in a series, the Choopacubra will eat your laptop and destroy all your work.

In those 5 months, I started and finished many projects, but abandoned them. I was beginning to get sick, and thought of giving up writing.

That’s when I had my F*&@ it moment.

Partly, I blame Dean W Smith (see links below).

I said, bleep this. I don’t care what other people think, I’ll write what I damn want.

And I did. I’ve already shared my list:

Nov 2014: Watcher’s Day Out

Dec 2014: All Aboard, the Zombie Express

January 2015: I Hate Zombies (actually started this in December)

End Jan- Mid Feb 2015: Achtung! Nazi Zombies

The last two books were finished in 20 days, plus 4-5 days revising, mainly typos, small plot errors. That’s it. And then straight to editor.

Many people will say, Oh, but if I don’t spend years and years revising my book, it will come out to be a turd.

Well, this is a myth that has been busted by those smarter than me, so I will merely link to them in the end. I will add this gem I read in Dean’s blog:

No matter how much time you spend polishing a turd, it’s still a turd.

If you want to write fast, you have to trust your creative side. I spent months plotting, and then months revising each draft. I would analyse and think about each minor plot point, which meant I would grow bored and abandon dozens of projects midway. And the books still sucked. They sucked because I didn’t have enough practice. I didn’t have enough practice, because I spent all my time thinking, and not enough writing.

For I Hate Zombies, I decided not to do any plotting at all. I just typed whatever came into my head. (Note: I’m not saying you don’t need to plot.  Each person is different. But unless you give in to the creative side, you won’t know what your best method is).

Some of this will be offended by this, so here’s a photo of a baby to compensate:

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So I just sat for an hour or two, and typed. Without thinking, or analysing, or trying to fix my grammar.

Did it work?

I find it easier to write books now. I don’t spend hours struggling with minor plot points. I never go back and change my language/tone (and my editor agrees with me). I never say, “Hey, I could rewrite this better”. Because I can’t.

And that’s the secret to writing fast. Creating discipline (write daily, for a fixed time, every single day), and trusting the creative voice.

Told you, there was no secret.

Right, till next Sunday.

Reading List:

If you made it this far, chances are you have already the articles below. In case you haven’t, here are the links:

1. All the articles here, http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/killing-the-sacred-cows-of-publishing/

but especially this one.

2. Perfection by Kris Rusch, one of the best articles on writing (and any other creative art), and it’s two followups (here and here).

This post is a part of my Writing With Baby Challenge, where I try to finish a novel while taking care of a little baby.I will give an update every weekend. If you want to follow along, either follow me on Twitter, or subscribe to my mailing list.

Writing with Baby Challenge: Week #1

Last November, I decided to take part in Nanowrimo, where you try to write  a novel in a month.

Already a fast writer, I found the process very easy, and decided to continue with a novel a month:

Nov 2014: Watcher’s Day Out

Dec 2014: All Aboard, the Zombie Express

January 2015: I Hate Zombies (actually started this in December)

End Jan- Mid Feb 2015: Achtung! Nazi Zombies

Mid Feb: Unnamed Project (incomplete)

As you can see, by Jan, I was writing a book every 15-20 days. This was while working a full time job, by the way. There was a reason for my hurry: I knew I was about to hit by an atom bomb.

The bomb hit 19 Feb:

Ojas1I didn’t write anything for the 1st 3 weeks. Last two weeks, I’ve written barely 2000 words, most of which I will throw away. I have lost touch with the book I was writing, and am too tired to concentrate anyway. It doesn’t help I have to do the typing with one hand:

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But hope has not been lost. I don’t think I can manage a book a month (at least, not just yet). But a book every two months? That should be doable, provided I can get into a rhythm and keep going. The trouble is getting some sort of a habit going.

I’m going to publicly blog about my attempt, giving at least one update a week.

If you want to join me in my journey, please watch this space. I will discuss the techniques I used to finish a book in 20 days, how to edit etc. Obviously, those techniques will have to be updated to cope with a baby screaming in my ear.

If you  have kids (any age) and want to join me, you are welcome.

Topic of the week: Goals vs Systems

I’ll also try to write about a topic each week. This week, I have a saying by Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert. It gives you the mindset you need to succeed:

Losers have goals, winners have systems.

The reason I was on a roll was because I had a system. Losers set goals like “I will lose 10kg weight in a month” or “I will write a book this year”.

Winners don’t set goals, they create systems. So a system might be: “I will go to the gym every morning before work” or “I will write for an hour before sleeping.”

Every year in January, my gym gets super full, full of all the New Year revolutionists, trying to lose weight. I wait for February, so all of them can vanish (which they usually do: So much for goals). And that why I get really pissed when some asks me what my new year resolution is. The answer is simple: Only losers think about setting goals, winners try to create systems that will help them accomplish the goal.

The great thing about a system is, you don’t have to feel guilty about missing a day or two. Once the system is in place, it takes of itself.

So if you want to accomplish something, don’t waste time by creating a goal that you will miss anyway. Setup a system, and stick to the system.

That’s what I am trying to do: Try to setup a system that will help me write a novel while still taking care of the baby. Will I succeed? You’ll find out, won’t you?

Right, see you next week.

This post is a part of my Writing With Baby Challenge, where I try to finish a novel while taking care of a little baby.I will give an update every weekend. If you want to follow along, either follow me on Twitter, or subscribe to my mailing list.

New book: All Aboard, the Zombie Express

FBSAll_Aboard_the_Zombie_Express

The New Orient Express: The world’s first nuclear powered train, moving non-stop from Moscow to Alaska, it carries one thousand passengers.

Today, it carries a thousand and one.

A medical experiment gone wrong, a creature so foul it shouldn’t even exist.

And then the train breaks down in the middle of Siberia.

And someone sets the creature free…

New book: Watcher’s Day Out

 

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Who wants to be a Millionaire: Terrorism Style

Terrorists have a new tactic. They kidnap your loved ones and give you twenty four hours to carry out a terror attack. If you succeed, you get a million pounds and your loved one back.

If you fail, your loved one is killed.

Soon, the whole of London is burning with terror.

But then the terrorists make a mistake. They pick a fight with the wrong man: Gus Wheeler is crazier and more dangerous than any terrorist you know, and he just loves a dirty fight.

Dreams of a Nobody released

The 3rd book in the Cookie science fiction series is now out.

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Synopsis

Welcome to the planet of Prometheus.

A planet whose sun is made of ice.

A planet where war destroyed ninety percent of the population just a few years ago.

A planet where dreaming is punishable by death. A planet where your dreams can come true, and then kill you.

A ghost train turns up in town, with everyone except for thirteen year old Sakura dead. Everyone suspects Sakura, but Dyom already knows who committed the murders: The man known as the Dream Lord.

And now, he has one week to stop the Dreams, before they destroy the planet and kill everyone living on it…