Last year was my first crack at the A-Z Blogging Challenge, a blogging phenomenon created by the amazing Arlee Bird. The object is to blog every day of the month of April (except Sundays), and to increase the challenge (if you want), to blog thematically from A to Z. No sweat, right? Last year, I blogged about music with Jessica Bell. This year, I'm heading back to my roots and blogging about all things thriller. Join me?
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I suppose it's a bit of a cop-out on an A to Z of thriller terms to use the "W" post for writing. But let's face it, if you're working on a thriller novel, it's not going to get done if you aren't writing.
Have you ever read Stephen King's book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft? It's brilliant, actually. Filled with tips and tricks to hone your craft and get inspired. I read it once a year, kind of like my annual kick in the ass to remember some of the skills that can be lost when you're engrossed in the first draft of a new project. It's my editing bible. Have I used dialogue tags other than said? Have I filled the book with cliches? Stephen is good at (bluntly) reminding me why those things are "bad", particularly after I've read something that has been published - and yet, doesn't conform to those rules.
Perhaps one of the strongest messages in Stephen's book, however, is the reminder to write every day. Yeah, he writes 10 pages a day, which is somewhat easier when writing IS your day job. But being busy shouldn't be an excuse. One of my mentors, Steve Berry, was a full time lawyer while he was writing a bestselling novel a year. Amid the paperwork, court appearances, and full slate of meetings, he made time for writing. His dedication paid off.
I made a New Year's resolution on January 1 to write 500,000 words in 2013. Ambitious, yes, and likely not going to happen. Because even though I started out strong, putting in 1370 words a day for the first two months of the year, I tapered off when life got busy, or stressful.
Not to mention, I forgot that sometimes you need to take a break and re-read what you've written, plot the next few chapters, spend time researching, or yeah, catching up on the day job, family, or even just reading a good book.
I'm not beating myself up. I've written 80,000 words in 2013 so far, which has meant the completion of three books I'd started in 2012, a finished elementary school project, three quarters of a script, and the start of the second book in a series. Not bad.
And, there's still time! I won't make 500,000 words this year - it will be a miracle if I do. But I will write more this year than last year...putting me one step closer to achieving my writing dreams.
So, how much time do you spend honing your craft - even if your craft isn't creative?