I have enjoyed a weekend spent in domestic toil trying to reclaim the house from the cloud of dust that overtook it during the install of hardwood floors. My wife and I had them installed in the kids wing of our house recently; to help cut down dust and allergens for the twins. Hardwood also just looks stone cold cool. As you might have surmised from my BIO assuming you have read it, (pauses for those who have not yet taken the time to do their homework) you know I love hardwood furniture, in fact I have developed a nasty antique habit where I go buy things made in the 19th century East Indies for my imperialist British cousins. So the hardwood floors are no surprise. Call me old-fashioned but it is hard to beat the classics.
This however is NOT what I was going to write about, but what I do want to talk about does have to do with furniture. Indeed, it has to do with the nobel chair. The much maligned member of the seating family, Assus Sitticus. Here is the piece of advice which you can hear anywhere else, but it bears being said again because it works.
Put your ass in the chair and write. There is nothing that puts bacon on the table like ass in chair in terms of writing. You may have heard that Hemingway once claimed to write standing. This is a terrible lie, unleashed on the unsuspecting masses to help drive away competitors. You can’t trust anything the man says, except for maybe that first million word thing, but don’t despair, people buy fertilizer in bulk. So sit down and write.
How does this bombastic and pompous bit of advice have ANYTHING to do with my writing process?
Why my dear, this IS the heart of my writing process. I am an engineer by trade, my natural tendency is to find the quickest, least complex and lowest impact way to get something done. We could talk about this approach being a failing of the male species, we could make racial generalizations about the Irish; my heritage, and we could even go so far as to just say there is something base and wanting in my nature when it comes to good old-fashioned, puritanical work. Whatever you may wish to say, I am clever and lazy and by GUH I think that is the hallmark of a sophisticated soul.
So how in the hell did I get the writing bug? It is a good damn question because this shit right here is hard work.
I got the bug because I decided I was going to write, and I was going publish. I left myself no excuses. I put my butt in the chair and I sat there until I started writing. I gave up going to see movies, I quit playing online games, I stopped buying BOOKs to read. I took away everything I might enjoy and told myself, “All right fat boy, if you want it back, give me a first draft. A hundred thousand words maggot!” (You should get an inner drill instructor, they are awesome)
Then I sat down and it started working. It is AMAZING what happens when you take away distractions and give yourself an ultimatum. It is HOW I write, because finding time is still a challenge. When my kids hit the bed at 8pm, I check with the missus about plans for the evening, and if there are none I make a bee line for my office and I start working. I could link you a dozen blogs that have endorsed this concept, but the net of it is, sit down and write something, damn it. While we have sat here together I just wrote over 600 words.
Three nights a week of this and you have a novel in a year. You get my drift?
Nothing else is going to feel as good as holding that story in our hands will…*
(Nothing I am going to write about here… pervs)