Alex Callahan

Perfect mix of magic and mayhem

Category: Writing Process (Page 1 of 2)

Why I Write

The following is a sentimental post. You have been warned.

I’ve been writing for years now. I started to dabble in writing stories back in high school, though at the very beginning, I kept it short or… well… or I never finished. It took me years of writing shorter fanfics before I agreed to take on a challenge and write a story that was 20k. After that, once I knew I was capable of writing complete, long stories, there was nothing that could stop me from writing more long stories.

In the recent years I turned to writing novels with explicit plan of one day publishing my work. Right now I have three finished first drafts, I’m working on the fourth one, and if everything goes according to plan next year I’ll see my first book hit the market.

I’ve been asked why I keep writing despite the fact that I’m not seeing any direct results and the truth is, I write because I love it. I would tell stories even if publishing my stories were not a possibility. I would write tales of werewolves and heroes and mysteries, even if it meant writing longhand in my notebooks, then hiding them away in a locked drawer. In fact I had done it for years when the Internet wasn’t such a big thing and websites were still hosted on angelfire.

I told stories that were fusions of material that I loves, I wrote Mary Sues and fanfics of varied quality. I learned how to weave a narrative and create characters, and I was hungry for more. I’m not going to lie, there are days when writing is hard and I wonder how am I even capable of stringing a sentence. But I keep writing, because I love it.

I always read about writers who put in thousands of words everyday for weeks if not months at a time. A pace like that doesn’t seem like something I’d be capable of, not in the long run. I know, because I have tried. But not being prolific isn’t reason enough for me to stop. Just because I will never experience the breathtaking lightining fast success, doesn’t mean I will give up. I wouldn’t be able, even if I tried. Not for long.

And here I am, writing away and getting things ready for publication. And after the release day comes and goes, I will continue to write.

Because I love it.

#AmWriting is HARD – How I Get My Word Count In

You have to write to be a writer. But it’s easier said than done.

Like probably every other writer on the planet, more often than not, getting the words on the page is a struggle. Finding the time to write was my biggest problem for the years. Once I became a full time freelancer, that problem was solved. Yet I still struggled to finish my novel. Getting any substantial wordcount was a huge challenge and it was taking ages. At this point, I feel like I’ve tried every trick under the sun. And now I decided to share them with you.

Write every moment you can / The Pomodoro Technique

I sometimes keep my Scrivener project opened while I work on my copywriting for various clients and I will write a sentence or two in between other tasks. It never results in massive wordcounts, but by the time I’m ready to finish my day, I’ll still have a couple hundred words that weren’t there before.

Alternatively, I’ll use a modified Pomodoro Technique and just do a quick (or in my case an hour long) session and just write. For me, an hour is long enough to get a lot of words in (when I’m on a roll and the muse is cooperating, I can even pull off 2000 words in that time). Sometimes, I’ll be able to do more than one session, but that’s mostly on the weekends.

Going on a writing retreat and/or finding a writing buddy

Writing is a solitary endevor. Nobody is going to write your novel for you (unless you’re using ghostwriters, but that’s a whole different story), so you need to sit in that chair and type away. Unfortunately, the world is full of distractions, other priorities, family, friends, and so on. Sometimes it’s hard to just switch everything off and get lost in writing, especially when it’ not your full time job (yet!).

Finding a writing buddy, someone you stay in constant contact with, who is also a writer might help. I know it helped me temendously. Setting up goals, meeting on a regular basis really motivated me to keep going forward/ I’m pretty sure that without my friend, Megan, I wouldn’t be able to finish even one novel. I’m not writing the 4th one.

Another thing we do, is meet every month for an intense weekend of writing and editing. It’s something between a slumber party and a writing retreat. Nothing matters but the word count and achieving our goals. It’s amazing and results in spectacular results. If you can, you need to try it!

Word Crawls – achieving yours goals little by little

Word crawls are a fairly recent discovery for me. I stumbled upon them during last years NaNoWriMo, when I made a mistake of setting up an Overachieving Goal above the regular 50k. I needed every trick under the sun to get all the words in and I was trying out all kinds of things. But it was the word crawls that consistently kept getting me to write more. I kept telling myself “just one more step”. It was particularly helpful during the week 2 crisis.

I use different crawls to keep things interesting, if I don’t feel like writing against the clock, I will go with the Dice crawl that never returns the same number of words and so it never feels like I’m doing the same thing over and over again.

Follow my writing journey on Twitter, or share your thoughts in the comments below.

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén