Thursday, June 24, 2010

How To Write

Dude, I've got it down to a science. And I'm going to share it with you. You wanna be a writer? Publish books?

Here's what you do.

1. Sit down at the computer.
2. Open Word.
3. Type some words.
4. Keep typing until you get to the end.
5. Repeat for book #2.

That's it. It's not that hard, really. *dodges Coke cans* (Of course, there's more to it than that, but really, that's it, right? If you boil everything else away...you sit down, open Word and type. If you're struggling, try this formula.)

Well, how would you do it? What am I missing?

83 comments:

Matthew Rush said...

Ah if only I were already published! Then someone could perhaps be paid to do my revising for me?

Vicki Rocho said...

Brilliant!

JustineDell said...

Hmm, so I don't need all the plot mumbo jumbo, and that thing called a story arc, and does that mean character details are unimportant? SWEET! Maybe I will be published one day after all!!

Teeheehaahaa. Cute Post!
~JD

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

LOL If only it were that easy!!!!

Theresa Milstein said...

The first part is that easy. It's all that stuff between book #1 and #2 that gets me. Something about editing...

Christi Goddard said...

*giggles* I just wrote something similar the other day on my blog:

The only thing that will EVER limit us is ourselves. Write that masterpiece. It's in you. All you have to do is type a lot, edit a bunch, fill in the plot holes, rewrite a scene or two, add a character, change the ending, and kill those adverbs and TADA!!! Success. Now get back to work and stop your b*tching. You're beautiful.

Jonathon Arntson said...

I am just so offended Elana. After years and years of working on my writing, surviving because of one product and you insult my Diet Dr Pepper by calling it Coke?! I go with the real professionals' supplement. Hmph.

Jen said...

I think you definitely nailed it, however it doesn't always seem that easy... when the words don't flow I find adding a glass of wine (at a decent hour of course!) helps loosen the words!

Marybeth Poppins said...

You forgot the constant checking of facebook and twitter in between all that!

Natalie Aguirre said...

If only the words created a perfect manuscript. You forgot your 30-day to revise formula, which for some us, has to be used more than once.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Other than 'sit down with notebook & pen,' that's how I'd do it. Oh, and some inspirational music, too. And get away from the computer as it's distracting!

lynnrush said...

Yep, that's pretty much it. . .
OH, I guess we should throw in the editing part, huh? But that comes later...in a nutshell, just gotta set the butt to the chair and type!

Catherine Denton said...

Ohhhhhh. THAT's it.
Winged Writer

Erinn said...

You forgot the guilt of ignoring your family, household, and personal hygiene.

There's also the self doubt, time management and constantly being distracted by Blogger and commenting on blogs, twitter and other shiny things on the internet.

Liza said...

Great formula...and so true.

WritingNut said...

I love it! It's so true, but like with most things... easier said than done (for me, at least).

I was born to be distracted.. le sigh.

Piedmont Writer said...

You forget the list of handy dandy chocolate snack thingy's right by the edge of the desk.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

You covered it.
~ Wendy

VR Barkowski said...

Elana, you miss nothing! We can hem and haw and amend, pretend there's more to it, but honestly, this is it - with one tweak. Why would I write in Word when Scrivener is God's gift to writers?

Jamie Burch said...

That's so true!

Meredith said...

That's basically it, for the first draft, at least. Butt in chair. That's the only way I get anything done. But chocolate-covered pretzels help.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

But. . . but what about the fun stuff? Like preplanning. Outlining. Editing. That's what I live for. NOT the first draft. That's my least favorite part. ;)

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Hey what about the middle of the story hair pulling and late night with your best friend chocolate! Okay and I do a happy dance at the end of every first draft and brace myself for editing. Lol.

Candyland said...

Wow I never thought of it this way *throws hands to hips and gives sarcastic face*
Here all along I've been closing the Word doc and imagining the words writing themselves. No wonder things aren't getting done...

Falen said...

straight up truth. I saw a question on yahoo questions the other day. He said he had an idea for a story and had outlined and all that stuff but then didn't know what to do.
I was like, dude, just start writing. Step 1.

Christine Fonseca said...

pretty much sums it up!

Jana Hutcheson said...

You're right. All the other is no good if you don't just sit down and do it. I needed this today. Thanks!

Jessie said...

Dude - that's all it takes?? JK. I often have my BIC, but then I end up on blogs and twitter. Must keep writing words...

Jenny said...

Fantastic post. Spot on. And congratulations on "Control Issues". That is really exciting.

Kristi Helvig said...

The only thing you're missing is the chocolate. I can't write without it. :)

salarsenッ said...

Just what I needed, today. Thumbs-up, E.

Deb said...

LOL! Most excellent post. I will add...open notebook, lay gel pens beside it. Then open that word doc. Really. I just like to look at the notebook and gel pens...

Jaydee Morgan said...

Sounds about right to me. When it comes right down to it, it's all about putting your butt in the chair and just doing it.

Erica Mitchell-Spickard said...

That's it? You mean pacing around my living room having conversations between my characters and wonder what happens next then calling my friend cause I need to soundboard then take notes, listen to some music then write out more notes then look at Word and think holy crap I'm exhausted I need a nap...doesnt?!?!? LOL thanks for the reminder, literally I have been pacing and not writing...just what I needed to read today :)

Yvonne Osborne said...

Pretty much it. One of the ten tips for securing an agent in the most recent Poets and Writers is "You're a writer - focus on the writing. Put the work first, and worry about the business second. Writers should write and agents should do business."

Write, write, write.

comma girl said...

You've cracked the code! Except Marybeth added the essentials...checking FB and Twitter constantly, or is that how Not to do it?

Shari Green said...

Yes, exactly. Like someone wisely said, WRITERS WRITE. Or to follow Nike's advice, JUST DO IT. ;)

Hardygirl said...

Well said!!

sf

Melody said...

Wow.
This is deeply profound yet at the same time a cry for me to write...'cause I do call myself a writer, don't I?

Lisa K. said...

It sort of goes back to that old saying: Writers write. It's the way we learn, after all, by doing!

JEM said...

I think you're forgetting the copious amounts of coffee and chocolate. Or Diet Coke and Twizzlers, if that's your thing.

Dammit, I just remembered the pretzel M&M's. Why am I not at a grocery store right now?!?

Amy Jo Lavin said...

I think there are a lot of people out there who want to write, but fail to follow your simple steps. Of course, it's not that easy, but no one can get very far without that practice. And practicing again and again. :)

Jennie Englund said...

Trickiest part?

Number 1.

Southpaw said...

OH! Is that all?

G.~ said...

Thank you so much for the simplicity Elana. I have heard this so many times before, but I forget it regularly, so I can never hear this too much.

Thank you, now I can get back to writing.

It may not be easy, but it is that simple.

Great post Elana.

lisanowak said...

That's profound, Elana. Seriously. How many people bellyache about how they can't find time, can't get a break, don't have a chance, etc, when they just don't do the basic work?

Krispy said...

Hmm, it seems too easy. What's the catch? :P I'd also need to unplug the internets.

Palindrome said...

I agree! Butt in chair, pen in hand!! And remind people that it's okay not to write some days. Your brain needs a break every now and again.

Kristi Faith said...

I think that pretty much covers the essentials. :0)

Patti said...

So true, because you can't do the other stuff until you do the simple stuff.

ali said...

ROFL Elana. Yup, that pretty much covers it.

SWK said...

Yeah. Haven't heard of a better way :) In my case, kinda have to have coffee and chocolate in close proximity!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, THAT'S how you do it? No wonder I've been struggling lately. I forgot about steps 2-5! I think I've perfected step one, though! LOL! :-)

Stephanie said...

LOL! Love it!!!!! I can't tell you how many people have said to me "Oh, I want to write a book, but this and that and more this and more that..." They are full of excuses.

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

In my case you left out:

6: Reread what you wrote
7: Cry a little
8: Revise
9: Reread revision
10: Cry more
11: Send to CPs for help
12: Receive copious amount of notes
13: Cry a little more
14: Revise again
15: Send to agent
16: Receive MORE revision notes
17: Flee to Mexico.

Ole!

:)

T.J. said...

Ok, I'll go back to reread all the other comments (except for Shannon's since they're currently last and definitely awesome/true.)

I think it's funny that people think there's really something about writing that published/agented authors know and the rest of the world don't. Like there's a huge secret out there that not everyone knows about. I blogged complaining about the stupidity that I see when an inspiring author goes up to an established published author and asks "What's your secret?"
I want to punch the person and say "Their secret wasn't asking published authors their secret."
Ok, off my high horse, especially since I'm not published.

Jamwes said...

You forgot the part of finding your muse. Usually I find mine at the bottom of a pot of coffee or bottom of a bottle or on the best days on the bottom of both.

Katie S said...

LoL, so simple. But it's true. If you want to write, sit down and do it.

Sandy Shin said...

YES.

I think I need to print this out and glue it above my desk to remind myself.

Racquel Henry said...

It's good advice, but if only it were so simple, or maybe it is!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

And yet, there are so many who stop before book#2, yes?

I think you left out the manic distractions of the internet, while you're stalling working on your MS.

Yup, that's it. :)

Kerrie said...

Well said. You hit the nail right on the head!

Carolyn V. said...

What about the crying and pulling out of hair? Is that just me? j/k =)

Adventures in Children's Publishing said...

This is why we love you, Elana. You make us see the obvious that we've been missing. :) Only I'm kind of going to have to go with Shannon Messenger on this one. Can I go to Italy though? They have this awesome prosecco there that at least lets me think what I'm writing is brilliant. (For about 5 minutes then I have to go all Inigo Montoya on the adverbs and crappy sentences, "You killed my manuscript. Prepare to die.")

Martina

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

*heaves caffeine free diet coke can*

(I'm preggers, and feeling snarky.) ;)

No, but, you ARE right. That is the easy-peezy way it's done. (I mean, so I hear!)

elizabeth mueller said...

ROFL!!! Oh, Elana, you never cease to laugh me out! I don't see it any other way, really and truly. ;)

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Lol. I'm going to include chocolate and snacks in that list somewhere. :)

Jessica Nelson said...

Well, that's the barebones of it. lol

Karen Lange said...

Think you have it down except you forgot pretzel M&M's.
Happy weekend,
Karen :)

Jemi Fraser said...

I'd like to include a cup of Chai tea, but other than that, it's perfect!

Julie Musil said...

Ok, I'm furiously writing these tips down so I don't forget!

Lisa and Laura said...

This sounds totally manageable. Now, if only I could disable my Internet connection and cancel cable.

Kimber said...

All that list needs is a big bag of Twizzlers:)

Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

Yes, That's it! And don't spend too much time commenting everywhere. *sigh* Hi.

Jan Markley said...

Nothing like a little butt to chair time!

Tamara said...

As long as you are going for the 'pure writer' approach - I would add only one more ingredient: a blindfold.

Heather Justesen said...

When you clear away all of the confusion and distractions, this is the basic truth-no mater how much time you spend studying writing, taking classes and reading great books, unless you sit your rear end in the chair and type the book, it'll never get written, and then it won't matter how much time you spend studying the craft. Writer's write. Period.

Slamdunk said...

I think you are on to something here. Finding some way to be invisible in the chair would be of assistance as well.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I thought you had to eat Twizzlers to get published???

Riv Re said...

I love this. I've quoted it multiple times, and I just blogged it at fantasticfantasyfan.blogspot.com

Corra McFeydon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lea (YA Book Queen) said...

I think my biggest problem is actually writing...I really need to schedule some time everyday, or else I'll never get anywhere with it.

Thanks for the straight forward advice, :)

LReneeS said...

I think that is the best explanation anyone ever gave of getting a writing a story, save for everything that you have to do AFTER those for steps.

Also, I just began following your blog and was reading that you're represented by an agent? Is your agent accepting query submissions at this time? I've been working on getting my story, The Magic of Light, published for about five years now. Please let me know by posting on my blog if you get the chance to.

Happy writing,
LReneeS

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