Header Image - Getting the words out by any means possible.

Write, write, write

I’m coming up on 60k words today. I feel like I’m finally on the downhill side of the story, if only just. Things are beginning to come back together and the end of the first draft is in sight. I’m amazed at the changes that have already taken place from the original premise, but have enjoyed the ride thus far. It’s business time.

Music to Write By

by Jonathan 1 Comment
Gladiator - Soundtrack of Choice for Writing

Gladiator - Soundtrack of Choice for Writing

I like me some music. All kinds. But, I can only write with instrumental music playing, preferably at a low volume. If there are lyrics, I’m sunk because they divide my attention keeping me from immersing myself totally in writing.

I usually write to a nice mix of soundtracks from Lord of the Rings, Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, and Black Hawk Down, as well as some stuff from the Shadowbane video game (which I do not play) and Eberron RPG (which I do). Those work for me pretty well. Sometimes the exciting, tension-building moments start playing at the wrong times, but that’s okay.

I’ve recently included a jazz-esque playlist that includes some Miles Davis, Ernest Ranglin, Hanneke Cassel, and Ibrahim Ferrer. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to write with that going on, but it’s working just fine. My next playlist will probably go the acoustic guitar instrumental route. I’ve got some Hawaiian slack key guitar stuff, some Bruce Cockburn instrumentals, Tone Poems and a few other odds and ends that should be a nice way to mix up my music.

Do any of you write with music in the background? If you’ve never tried, I would recommend giving it a try. Music can be wonderful for setting the mood of your scenes, you just have to make sure you like what you are hearing.  If you already listen to music while you write, what are your faves?

The Search for Inspirado

I’m taking a little break. I just worked out about six hundred words that aren’t horrible and I felt like telling someone. Of course I’m assuming that someone might actually be reading these posts. I’m all about the fantasy.

How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card

How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card

I’ve read a number of places (Steven King’s On Writing and Orson Scott Card’s How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy immediately come to mind) that writing is a lonely job.

I am committed to having my first draft by the end of August. I am committing to increasing my actual writing time each day. I thought I would originally be shooting for 100k words, but it looks like I may have to eclipse that a bit to tie everything up. I’m okay with that (at least now. I’ll probably be despairing sometime later this week on my rollycoaster ride that is writing).

Stephen Kings On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

I would love to get published on my first effort (not first draft, first effort), but I understand it is a long shot. I consider my current work to be, at the very least, an awesome learning experience. It’s a great way to let me know what works for me (scheduled writing time) and what doesn’t (totally winging the story). It also helps me wrangle my inner critic enough that I enjoy even the clunkers and the hard days.

Jack Black once said in Tenacious D, The Search for Inspirado (HBO TV), “I could manufacture Inspirado, but that would be false.” Of course he’s dead wrong, but still funny. The best way to manufacture Inspirado is to sit down and write. I’d love to hear any anecdotes of your search for Inspirado and enjoy this little Tenacious D video. ***Coarse language warning and irrevocable loss of the next 9 minutes and 10 seconds of your life.***


Back in the Saddle

If only we needed one suitcase.

If only we needed one suitcase.

I had really hoped that our two week trip to Maine wouldn’t prove too much of an interruption. I thought I would write more. I was wrong. We rolled back into WV last night and I am back in my dedicated writing space today. It’s a 10×10 shed that I wired, insulated and paneled. We call it the man shack. That’s a horrible name, but, alas, it has stuck.

Today I’m back at the writing and it feels good. I’ve missed the routine, the story. I definitely had some crises of confidence while on the road, but that always seems to go hand in hand with not writing. I get why people stop writing. I get why people never start. I get why people get mired in the middle of their work and give up.

A little Google search on “giving up writing” yields plenty of blog posts like this one or this one. Here is a quote from Joyce Carol Oates that sums it up pretty well:

I have forced myself to begin writing when I’ve been utterly exhausted, when I’ve felt my soul as thin as a playing card, when nothing has seemed worth enduring for another five minutes . . . and somehow the activity of writing changes everything. Or appears to do so.
(“Joyce Carol Oates” in George Plimpton, ed., Women Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, 1989)

Amen. Off to write.


Of Northeastern Islands

Fire Island Lighthouse, Robert Moses Beach, NY

Fire Island Lighthouse before Sunset by Jim Dohms

We arrived on Mount Desert Island, Maine (close to Somes Pond on the map) last night after leaving Long Island, New York yesterday morning.

“The Island” is home to my Uncle Eddie, who collects and sells books on ebay. As we left he hooked us up with a box of books including Cervantes’ Don Quixote,  an omnibus of the Bronte Sisters’ work, a Mark Twain reader, and a heap more. Paper Gold!

We took the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry to Connecticut and motored north. The trip was fairly uneventful, especially after our traffic extravaganza heading on to Long Island Sunday night.

I’ve always enjoyed boats and all things related to sea/river/lake travel. I have a feeling there will be some water based stuff surfacing in my writing sooner rather than later.

I was able to write a bit on the way up to Long Island while my lovely wife drove and my daughter nodded off to sleep for a little bit. I took one more day off than I had intended, but I just finished up a session of about 1300 words. Hopefully some of them make sense.

Plate I of Gustave Dorés illustrations to Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote. From Chapter I.

Plate I of Gustave Doré's illustrations to Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote. From Chapter I.

I think it’s time for a Come to Jesus Meeting with the manuscript. I’m a bit adrift right now because story lines are at the point where they are beginning to join. I need to make some decisions on major story arcs and turning points, but still maintain flexibility with the whole deal. Good times.
It’s definitely harder for me to maintain continuity while on the road, but at least I’m getting my writing in. For me, that’s huge.