I think almost everybody has a preferred ritual for writing, and every one has their own ritual.
I like to sacrifice a fatted lamb to the muses in the hopes of dislodging the words from within my mind. There’s no magic to it. For me, I just have to commit to do it. I really don’t need a specific time or place. The stars don’t have to align. Personally, I would love to have a chance to see the wife off to work, the kids off to school, and then for me to trudge off to the basement office and just write for the next 6 hours. Unfortunately, I have a job to do and bills to pay. So I allot 1 of my off days to writing, and hopefully I am able to bang off a chapter. That’s my goal. One chapter a week.
This is me when I’m trying to write that perfect sentence.
I think a lot of writers share the same habit. Some write more, dedicating every spare second to their craft. Good for you! Most of us have other responsibilities to juggle. Other writers write until they achieve a certain word count. And some just write until the words stop flowing. This week, I’m going to share how some popular writers approach their craft.
J K ROWLING: she’s a big fan of writing wherever and whenever she can. She’s said that she wrote down character names on an airplane barf bag. She’s also been known to write through the night, at cafes, or in hotel rooms. She writes when the writing comes to her.
STEPHEN KING: easily one of the most prolific writers ever, Stephen King writes at least 2000 words a day. He can write a 180,000 word novel in three months. He’s not a stickler for outlines, preferring to let the story take him where it’s going. He is very much-a-fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants writer.
J R R TOLKEIN: Tolkein was the polar opposite. He was a very slow writer. The Lord Of The Rings was written as one book over the course of 11 years. That works out to roughly 245 words a day.
JAMES JOYCE: Joyce made Tolkein seem like a speed demon. There’s a famous story that has a friend asking Joyce in the street if he’d had a good day writing. Yes, Joyce replied happily. How much had he written? Three sentences, Joyce told him.
KEN FOLLETT: If I had to choose my favourite book, I’d choose Follett’s The Pillars Of The Earth. Follet treats his writing like a job, starting everyday at 7 and finishing no later than 5. He’s said that he wakes up in the morning with the story in his head and spends the time making detailed outlines. He also uses a spreadsheet to keep track of all his characters.
JAMES PATTERSON: Another very prolific writer, which isn’t a surprise really, considering he does very little writing. Patterson has perfected an almost assembly line style to writing. He writes a detailed outline for his story and then hires another writer out of his own pocket to write it. Patterson and the other writer both get credit on the cover but all monies earned from his books (and the eventual movie deals) go to Patterson. It’s not a bad deal for the other writer, usually a new writer. They often end up with book deals of their own.
Like I said, there’s no one way to do it. Find what works for you and run with it. That’s it for this time. Here’s the links for my on-going serials, The New Millennials and The Medal. Until next time!