Friday, May 21, 2010

What happens if you write just for the FUN of it?

I thought, “There’s no way I’ll get 100 pages of material, that’s over thirty-thousand words. Not in the deadline I’ve been given. Dang. Argh! Eek!” I sat in front of my computer staring at the butchered story before me, the one I spoke about in the post below from yesterday. I had maybe, possibly, three-thousand words left after I deleted the rest. And of those three-thousand words, I wasn’t sure what else would have to be trashed. And, I had to consider the story from another angle. Argh. Dang. Eek!

I took those negative thoughts and shoved them to the back of a dark corner closet, put my fingers to the keys, and just Began.

When I lifted my head two days later, that maybe three-thousand words has been increased by over 16,000. I have written a minimum of 16,000 words. An average of 8,000 words a day.

I worked on the story about four to five hours each day, because that’s just how long I happened to work on this project. Some days will be longer hours, sometimes shorter. So, I averaged 1500 to 1600 words an hour. Years and years ago, the last time I had a typing test on an IBM Selectric; I could type 80 to 90 words a minute. Even if I took the lower end of 80 x 60 minutes, that’s 4800 possible words in an hour (I hate math so if I’m figuring wrong, oops –call me on it *laugh*). So. Yes. The fingers can create many words in an hour.

But what can the brain, or its creative outflow, allow? That's up to you. That's up to how much you are willing to take a risk, or let go, or just plain old Have A Little Fun.

If you sit down for one hour at even 50 words per minute by your fingers, you can have 3,000 words. If you allow your brain free reign, could you have even 1500 words in two hours? Three? A day? That’s a short-short story. Or the beginnings of something longer. Don't OVER-THINK it; allow yourself to have some FUN. That’s all I did, gave myself permission to have Fun. And, heck, if anything else, it's good practice. Tappity tap, wheeee! hey, this is fun!

You don’t think I’m going to let this story stand as it is when I hit “the end” and have my thirty-ish thousand words, do you? Heck no! I’m going to re-fine and tweak and fiddle and fix. But I’ll have a beginning, middle, and end, and all the hindsights and foresights to see the story as a “whole.” I wake up in the morning excited about the work, because I have allowed the word FUN back into my writing life. I need to do that often and oftener and oftenest.

If I lower the stakes when I am feeling stuck and afraid and allow myself to relax into it, then my brain gives a little yippeee! My fingers are already troopers.

There’s something to be said for practice, too—I can’t stress that enough.

Are you ready to sit down and not let anything stop you from writing? If you let yourself have a little Fun without giving everything such high expectations and high stakes (performance anxiety), what do you think you could accomplish? What if this moment in your writing, even for one hour, it is all about FUN?

(PS, Last my publishers checked last night, Tender Graces was still No 1 on Amazon Kindle Literary and it was ranked just about 2,000 on the trade paperback ranking, which is an incredible number - *smiling* - Thank you all for your support! I appreciate all your comments and you know I read every danged one of them - y'all are wonderful! You've all been here cheering me on and I can't tell you what it means to me - well, I can - it means SO DANGED MUCH - more than you may know, my friends *MUWAH!*)


Marisa Birns said...

Ah, yes, *sigh* It's the FUN part that I keep forgetting.

So worried about everything else that it's easy to let that Mean Internal Editor hog the who show.

Yes, practice makes perfect. Even with practicing the fun part of creativity.

Thank you for the reminder!

T. Frohock said...

That's what I do when I start a novel and just sit down and write for the fun of it.

You just had to find that "black hole!" Hee!

Deb Shucka said...

So glad you worked your way out of your funk. It's only been in the last year that I've been able to sit, get out of my way, and let the words flow. I'm always surprised when I go back and read later how much good stuff shows up on the page without torment.

I'm also thrilled beyond words for the success of TG and SG - for your well-deserved recognition and success. Love.

Terri Tiffany said...

Like Teresa said, the fun for me is when I start a new book. Anything goes then. I can just let the characters do their thing--
But where is the fun in revisions!!:) Can you tell what I'm doing now?

Kelly Bryson said...

I'm at a different point- I just checked out about 15 books on Egypt and will be cramming my brain with everything it finds interesting, so later I can close my eyes and reach in and pull something fun out of the mess. Have fun!

Stacy Post said...

I've got an hour before the kids come home from school. I'm dedicating it to fun writing! YAY!

Karen said...

Good instructions, there, kiddo. I write the "nano" every year for fun. One, my friends are encouraging me to really work on. But time--oh where does the time for cut and rewrite and rethink and ...... Oh, just for fun. I get it! :P

Walker said...

I hate deadlines but the pressure sometimes gets the juices flowing.
Prune juice does it for me.

Titus said...

Aw Kathryn, I have that very Calvin and Hobbes book.
Interesting stuff. Poetry, for me, is fun - prose really feels like work, because I think I'm better at it. So good advice, for one day...

Sandra Leigh said...

I swear, I have the internal editor from hell. It's high time I gave that party pooper a good slap upside the head and sent her packing. When I get back home, I'm going to write "Just have fun!" on my dry-erase board, and whenever I start whining about how it's h-a-a-a-ard, I'll just look at the board and think of you.

Delighted to hear about TG. Just wait until TG and SG are competing for that #1 spot!

Glynis Peters said...

Editing has popped my party balloon *sob*.
I am struggling a little, but this will not beat me.
I admire your stamina!

Secret Graces arrived! Yippeeeeeee!! So you have one on the island of Cyprus that you know of. :)

Jill of All Trades said...

I like writing like that too but I found that fiction is not my bag. I'm a talker on paper more or less.

While in Vegas last week I sat in on a Sony pilot and got to rate it. The testing lady go onto me for writing too much. Sorry!

Marguerite said...

1600 words an hour? Wow, you're good! Writing a cookbook takes a lot longer. Each ingredient must be accurate, because one typo can skew the results. So happy about your continued success! Cheers, sha!