Writing lessons by James Macdonald

James Macdonald is an author of science-fiction and fantasy whom I never read, but he appears to have written well-liked books and stories.

He started a thread titled Learn Writing with Uncle Jim, with this stipulation:

…everything that’s said should be true, and everything should be helpful.

An example from the thread:

Back before I went full time, I used to hear from people "I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I never had the time."

In those days I used to set my alarm clock for two hours early, to make the time. I’d get up at four in the morning to write. If you’re a writer, writing is what you do.

So, here’s the next bit of advice. This is what my friend Rosemary Edghill calls the "KISS method." (Others call it the "BIC method," for Butt In Chair.)

Pick two hours a day. It doesn’t matter which two hours, but make them two hours that you can do every day.

For that two hours, you will sit in front of your typewriter or computer. You will have no distractions. You will write, or you will stare at the blank screen. There will be no other options.

Writing letters does not count. Reading does not count. Doing research does not count. Revising does not count. You will write new stuff, or you will stare at the screen.

No TV in the room. No radio going. No internet. Fill the page or go mad.

Two hours. Every day.

Your body will rebel. You’ll get headaches. You’ll get colds. You aren’t allowed a choice. You will sit in front of that screen even if your head is throbbing.

Some days you will begin writing in a white-hot passion. You’ll look up at the clock and discover that three hours have gone by.

You don’t get to only do one hour the next day. You still have to do two hours.

Your mind will rebel. You’ll want to clean the toilet, change the cat box, mow the lawn. But you won’t, because there are no excuses. No, you don’t get to reschedule for "later." Two hours, on schedule.

(via Boing Boing)

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