write hard, write fast

I like how experienced novelist James Scott Bell puts it in his book THE ART OF WAR FOR WRITERS: Write hard, write fast, and the fire of creation will be yours.

It reminds me of an exercise Rachel Resnick (LOVE JUNKIE, GO WEST YOUNG F*CKED UP CHICK) had us do in a workshop: “You have five minutes to write your opening paragraph…” as she clicked her watch “….go!”

Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron both prescribe what Natalie calls “writing practice” and Julia calls “morning pages”: you sit down first thing in the morning when your mind is fresh and move your hand across the paper for 20 minutes (Goldberg) or three pages (Cameron) writing whatever comes into your head.

You censor nothing.

You don’t stop to think about what you’re doing.

It’s a good way to slip past what Kelly L Stone calls the “anti-writer” who sits in judgment in your conscious mind to sabotage your efforts.

Believe that the only way to write is forward and through.

Finish that draft. Don’t backtrack. Don’t get hung up on revising the first five or ten or sixty pages. Keep your hands moving across the keyboard. Censor nothing.

Tell the anti-writer to go stuff himself.

Give yourself thirty minutes to write something, anything. Three pages a day and you can have a draft of a novel in three months. Ready…set…go!

Jeff Vandermeer: How To Write a Novel in Two Months


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