Brown River Queen cover art

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Just Another Stormy Sunday


Another monster?

Nah, that's me before coffee.

Last week's blog entry included a recording of a creature we couldn't identify. Thanks to everyone who commented and e-mailed; we're still trying to identify the call. If and when we get a definitive answer, I'll post it here.

Haven't heard the sounds again, but I'm keeping the Zoom recorder handy just in case it makes an encore appearance.


I'll be making another radio appearance, this time on THE STEVE BRADSHAW SHOW at 1:00 PM CST next Saturday (November 23). If you're in or around Memphis, you can listen by tuning in to 990 on the AM band, or you can listen to the show's live web broadcast by clicking here.

We'll be talking about books, writing, Bigfoots, Bigfoots writing books, and how hard it is for a nine-foot-tall cryptid to land an agent in today's chaotic publishing industry. Seriously, that may come up. Steve's show topics include everything from fringe science to traditional forensics, so be prepared for anything!


I logged an amazing (for me) 10,987 words this week.

I know there are writers who churn that out in a day or two, but I'm not one of those writers. I'm much slower. Think a sloth after downing a pawful of Benadryl and washing it down with Nyquil. I'm slow. Ten thousand words in week is a goal, sure, but it's one I rarely meet.

How did I do it, you ask? Well, here are my newly-minted tips for breaking the 10K-a-week barrier!


1) When you insert the coffee IV, make sure you hit one of the big veins. And forget messing about with surgical tape to secure the needle -- duct tape is cheaper, stronger, and holds up better to all that thrashing about when you forget you have an IV line connected to the Keurig and the whole works gets tangled up when you walk.

2) Reduce your time-consuming social interactions by joining a Trappist monastery. Well, okay, the monks wouldn't have me, so I joined a more liberal organization (we're called the 'Highway Hellions,' and man does all this leather chafe). I find that the highly-structured routine of the gang is conducive to maintaining a writing schedule, and also I pay a guy nicknamed Slaughterhouse to enforce my two-hour writing session every night.

3) Keep your writing space separate from your living space. For instance, I write at a desk, and I never shave marmots or retool my vintage airplane engines at this desk. Now my keyboard is marmot-fur free, and I don't have pistons from the 1921 Curtiss-Wright rotary V12 falling in my lap. Of course you also want to make sure you actually own your writing space; take it from me, most neighbors don't have enough respect for the artistic process to let you continue renovating their upstairs bedroom.

4) Set realistic goals. I woke up every morning this week by saying aloud 'I will write 2000 words today.' This amused the deputies, but saying the words out loud made me feel accountable for carrying through, despite what my cellmates Tater and Mean Pete said.

5) If you fail to meet a goal, don't beat yourself up. Look, life happens. Cars break down. Work gets rough. That grave you dug by the interstate gets exposed during a rainstorm. There are times when you simply run out of hours in the day, not to mention moves for dismissal based on lack of evidence. Sometimes you just have to shrug it off and resolve to do better tomorrow, especially when picking out remote, easily-dug locations for, um, herb gardening.

6) Get the right tools. If you're serious about woodworking, you buy certain tools. You can't get by using the steak knives as a circular saw, or the icepick as a drill press. Writing is the same -- you need a computer, you need word processing software, you need internet access. Heck you may even need image processing programs and a web host and a good HTML editor, too. My point is this -- don't hamstring yourself by cheaping out. Get the latest version of Word. Get a machine capable of not merely running Word, but running the crap out of it. Oh, and if you're still burying things, don't get the shovel with the flat blade across the front. You want one that curves to a nice point. Otherwise you're going to be out in the woods all night.

7) Write what you know, but change the names. Too, remember that statutes of limitations vary from state to state.

8) Don't respond to negative reviews. You know who wins internet flame wars? I do, that's who. Not because I engage in internet flame wars, but because I laugh and laugh and laugh while reading them. I laugh at both sides, because no one wins, ever, and it's far easier to tank a writing career that it is to repair the damage. So don't do it. Close the page, and move on.

9) Don't stifle your inner muse. When my inner muse asks for chocolate or ice cream, I oblige. When she asks for a gallon of Absinthe and six hundred dollars of imported Russian caviar, I stall for time and hope she'll be satisfied with Harp Irish Lager and Hot Pockets. So far I owe her an estimated sixteen thousand dollars in menu items alone. Please buy a book. Muses don't mess around, during end-of-year accounting.

10) Maintain a cheerful, positive attitude. Yeah, I'm screwing with you now. Every writer I know is a fragile amalgamation of neuroses, depression, and substance-abuse issues. If you see us being cheerful and positive, that's probably the mushrooms talking, and we should be gently steered away from the car, the bank, or the liquor store.


If I manage another 10K in the coming week, that would put my rough draft of the new Markhat book somewhere between 20% and 30% complete.

If I manage to achieve unpowered flight by flapping my arms, I would still be less surprised than if I maintain my 10K a week surge.

But we'll see.

Catch me on the radio, if you can! Until then, take care.

1 comment:

  1. Great post and I agree with you on everything! If my muse wants chocolate, I give her chocolate. If she needs a break, she gets a break. I'm with you on that 10K goal a week. I have a writer friend that has been churning that out a day at times - it's maddening reading her update posts and there were times I felt badly about myself that I couldn't do that. But then I realized "I don't have to. I'll work at my pace." Thanks for the reminder. :)