read these articles in sequence starting with Conflict
I went to write it, no words came out.”
fell in love with the story I finally created for my own
novel. But when I went to write it, no words came out.
After three months spending hours a day I was only able
to write two pages. So I quit. But the story never did.
Some stay with you.
So four years later, with two simple
tricks, I broke the spell and now average 381 words
(nearly a page) an hour. This section tells you how I
did it. I’m sure it will help people.
I couldn’t write
didn’t know at the time why nothing came out. Now
it’s all so laughingly clear. It was because the
story—my book—was so important to me. So much
so that I didn’t give myself the space to mess it up.
The business of writing books is a wild imaginative
romp, at least I discovered it was for me. To do it you
have to completely let go and white knuckle down for the
ride. You can’t worry about tacking words together in
just the right order and continually checking them
against your story plan. First you must pull
the giant cork out of your arse, only then can you sit
down in the driver's seat. It’s a rush when you
finally get there. It's not the dreaming part or the
outlining part, certainly not the editing part, that's
the magic. It's the writing. But you gotta get there.
me to my garage out back, I’ll show you my wondrous
self-invented uncorking machine.
I overcame the roadblock—four years later in 15
mentioned, I loved my story.
And I knew that millions of other people had been
able to write books. So I knew that I could too. I just
had to approach it somehow differently.
One day I had a
simple idea. I wondered how many words I
could write if I were completely unlocked from whatever
I was writing. And what would it sound like? Just simple curiosity. So I gave myself 15 minutes to sit
down at my laptop and grind out as much rubbish as
ten fingers and the dreaming part of my brain would allow.
before I had been able to write only maybe 1100 words in
3 friggin' months, in fifteen minutes I wrote 527.
What did it sound like? Well, not brilliant. Very
rambling, as you can imagine. But also...not bad.
Here's the beginning:
curious how long it really takes for a writer to write
a page, approximately 500 words. Do they simply let
their minds wander from one word to another, sifting
through the vivid landscape of their unconscious, the
words flowing out and down through the fingers, etched
in living color, or black and white actually, on the
page. Or do they slowly knock the words out,
painfully, one by one by one. I can easily imagine
that, as it always seems to be, it’s a combination
of the two...
to read the rest? Download the actual document at the
bottom of this page.
Book Tracking Graph
second trick that helped me was to simply track of
my progress. Some days the
writing feels so slow, yet I'm always amazed at
just how many words I manage to write. I only knew
because my book tracking graph kept telling me.
made a spread sheet into which I put my writing goals
and every day my total word count. The spread sheet not
only keeps track of my writing relative to my goals, it
also tells you the following:
Number of words/day
Months till 270 pages
Days till 270 pages
Days left till goal
Hours/wk needed to reach goal
Percentage of book written
then graphs my progress and estimates when I'll finish.
I chose a random 'goal'
of 270 pages at 450 words/page—this comes out to
120,000 words. That's the upper comfortable limit some
publishers are willing to take from a new author. Of
course, it goes without saying, you write exactly as
many words as your story demands.
prepared a blank version of my Book Tracking Graph for
you. Download it below and try it out. You'll be
surprised what it tells you.
The best novel writing books. You have to do it, but
these will help.