Sunday, February 8, 2009

Stephen Coonts: My Five-by-Five, Daily Writing Ritual.

I want to impart to you an invaluable writing lesson, which many years ago my friend, the NY Times best selling author, Stephen Coonts offered to me.

Mr. Coonts calls it: My five-by-five, daily writing ritual. Steve writes (as I now do) for five concurrent hours, on five consecutive days, during each weekday.

For me, this personal writing contract has become an integral part of my work day and the terms are non-negotiable. All of my friends, family, business associates, etc. know this as fact. They are fully aware that I will not deviate from this routine; except for an emergency, which requires my immediate attention.

As I write full time, those amount of hours spent per day writing may not be doable for the non-professional writer. But, in moderation this discipline to your writing is still applicable, and well within reasonable limits for anyone to accomplish.

My modification on Mr. Coont's advice on writing is that even though you most, likely cannot write for five hours in any given day, do set aside at least one hour (at the same time of day/eve), five days a week.

Before you sign your own personal writing contract, be sure to let everyone you know that this is your writing time. And, that you are not to be disturbed for any reason; excepting of course as in my case as well, an immediate emergency. Believe me, they'll survive without you for ONE hour a day.

And, I trust with that personal commitment to your writing and public affirmation to others, you will be more motivated and dedicated to write. Also, don’t be surprised when you find that you have produced and completed much, more work than you have ever done before.

Good luck to you all in your own writing!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Three Simple Steps to Writing, More:

1) Write what you would want to read.

First, ask yourself this question. "Would I want to read this?" I know this sounds simplistic, but if you aren't writing about a subject that you care passionately about, there's a good chance that your reader will recognize that fact and not be very interested in reading it either.

2) Write with clarity.

If you aren't familiar with a certain location, culture, time period, etc. that you intend to write about, then do research on it first and write it later.

With that new-found knowledge at-hand, your writing will translate to your reader with more clarity.

3) Write, write and then write some more.

From my experience in working with many writers, what appears to be the biggest impediment for them is they just can't seem to find the time to finish what they have started.

Even, if it's only for one hour every day, find the time to write and then do so! The more you write, the better you will be at it and the more work you'll actually complete.

Any craftsman/craftswoman improves with the act of doing what it is they want to do best. And, so too will you in the craft of writing - simply by following these three simple steps to writing, more.

Keep Writing!