Secrets of a Bestselling Author: How to Become a Writing Machine #writing #writetip #selfpub #humor

Writing Novels That Sell with Adrienne deWolfe

So you want to become a writing machine? You want to write more content for your novel every day?

Excellent plan! The more you write, the more books you'll have to sell. If you sell more books, you can drive more creditors away from your door. (One can hope, anyway.)

In this era of the digital, "Million Book Market," readers forget they ever read, much less heard of, the struggling, one-book-per-year authors. Trust me. Nobody is more pained by this revelation than I, "The Slowest Writer in the World."  

At least, that's what I used to call myself, until recently, when I finished a commercially viable novella in 3 weeks -- at my publisher's request. I honestly think it's some of the best fiction I've ever written.

How did I accomplish this mind-bending feat?  Read on!

Writing a Novel, humor, stream of consciousness writing, procrastination, writers block

First, I sought inspiration. I found my ideal role model in a young Romance author, who started writing novels five years ago -- and today, has 25 books published under her name.

(No, I've never read her books. YOU'RE MISSING THE POINT!!!)

By the way, this same author has time to raise kids and hold down a full-time job. (I hate her.)

So what have we learned in today's post so far?  That Adrienne's a slow writer and a whiner!  

Moving right along . . .

The first way I boosted my writing speed was to eliminate external distractions. This was no easy feat, since I suffer withdrawal symptoms if I'm not Tweeting every 10 minutes.

So I made social media my reward! I'm only allowed to look at Twitter AFTER I finish writing a scene. Sure, this "stick-and-the-carrot" ruse takes mental discipline. But so does brushing one's teeth the requisite number of times each day. 

Another way I eliminated external distractions was to powwow with my family. You MUST get support for your writing, especially when you're headed for deadline. Explain to your dear ones that Mommy / Daddy / Spouse loves them and that Mommy / Daddy / Spouse will lovingly tear off their heads if interrupted for an "emergency" that does not involve, fire, flood, or a wound in need of a tourniquet.

(Like my parenting skills?  Me too!)

If you don't get up the nerve to insist that your writing time go undisturbed, you could turn into "Karen." Here's her true story (only the names were changed to protect the innocent.)

Karen used to grouse about her husband, a loving, well-meaning man, who would tiptoe into her office when she was possessed by the Muse. Jim would bend over and gently kiss Karen's cheek. At other times, he would rub her shoulders, ply her with snacks, or turn on the air conditioner because "she looked hot."

Don't let the "Martyr Jims" in your life sabotage your writing career!

Karen told Jim countless times that when he tiptoed into the room, he broke her concentration. Karen explained that retrieving that "writing thought" could take hours -- if she ever retrieved it at all. She would let Jim know in no uncertain terms that she was dieting (yet he insisted on feeding her) and that she got cold easily (yet he insisted on turning up the air conditioner.)

Whenever Jim persisted with his insidiously "loving" behaviors, Karen felt guilty for not paying him the attention that he was obviously seeking. After all (as Martyr Jim liked to point out), what "normal wife" could fault a husband for a kiss on the cheek? (An argument that infuriated Karen.)

According to their marriage counselor (via Karen, who blabbed EVERYTHING to her writer buddies,) Jim felt threatened by the amount of time that Karen needed to compose a novel. 

Karen and Jim were a mess, but therapy fixed all that: Karen and Jim remain married, mainly because Karen stopped writing. (What's wrong with this picture?)

Writing a Novel, humor, stream of consciousness writing, procrastination, writers blockLet's assume that you have a REASONABLE spouse and that your children are thrilled when you disappear. Your external distractions are minimal; thus, INTERNAL distractions are your bane. How might you triumph over them and become a writing machine?

Here are three steps that I took:

1) Write the same time every day. In The Spooky Art: Some Thoughts on Writing, Norman Mailer said:“If you tell yourself you are going to be at your desk tomorrow, you are by that declaration asking your unconscious to prepare the material. You are, in effect, contracting to pick up such valuables at a given time. Count on me, you are saying to a few forces below: I will be there to write.”

2) Establish a physical, pre-writing routine that "puts you in the mood" to create. My routine consists of 3 phases: burning incense (never estimate scent's power to trigger your brain!); fixing myself a cup of tea (even when temperatures are 102 degrees in mid-August); and reading the last scene I finished before plunging into my daily writing task.  

3) Turn on the timer for 15 minutes. Sit your butt in the chair. Speed write. (You knew that was coming, didn't you?)  

Stream-of-consciousness writing requires you to unlearn everything you've learned about writing: you're not allowed to backtrack or re-read a single freaking word. If the computer blows up, grab a pen. If the pen runs out of ink, break out the catsup bottle and use your fingertip. Eventually, that timer WILL ding.

Of course, by that time, you'll be, like, "Huh?  What was that ANNOYING distraction?"

In essence, to become a writing machine, you must exercise Persistence and Discipline as if you were exercising atrophied muscles. 

Hey, if I can overcome my old habits OVERNIGHT and write a novella in 3 weeks, then YOU can write a novel in 3 months.

Just do it.