crossing the abyss

London Visitors, James Jacques-Joseph Tissot

42,560, Loose Daddy. Last night I bought Lynn Viehl’s Way of the Cheetah. I finished reading it this morning. She presents, in smooth prose using the behavior of the cheetah as a great animal metaphor for the writing desire in us, ways to increase one’s productivity. If I am to become a professional writer, I must make productivity a brick in my writing platform. You can’t publish what you haven’t written. Even novelists who write one book every two years or so have set a productivity bar for themselves that allows them to write steadily and be productive in their work, whatever their method of creation.

But I mustn’t be too hard on myself. I have increased my productivity over the past couple years, chiefly due to participating in National Novel Writing Month each November. Because of that I now have two rough drafts, potential novels, that I would not have had without putting myself through those 30 days of relentless pressure to write. Every time I do it, I tell myself I’m not doing it again, but as the new year comes and months roll along, I find myself thinking of my November novel, of what I’m going to do. Last November’s pain fades from memory–you can see the labor and birth metaphor coming, right? After the second child you tell yourself, I’m not going through labor again! Then as the year rolls along, you start thinking, I’d like another baby! Labor pains be damned! And so it goes.

In fact I’ve already got an idea for my 2008 November novel.

I digress. Back to Way of the Cheetah. Not everything suggested in the book will work for me, but that’s okay. I got a lot of good stuff from this e-book that will work for me, and the most important are the principles Lynn lays out:

1. Write to tell a story.

2. Give writing your full attention.

3. Write every day.

4. Make your writing space work.

5. Maintain your equipment.

6. Stay in writing shape.

7. Write straight through your first draft. (I wrestle with this, but I think I can do it.)

8. Edit efficiently but thoroughly. (No problem with that!)

Lynn elaborates these principles in each essay with humor and wisdom gained from her years of writing. The e-book can be purchased via download at Way of the Cheetah at Holly Lisle’s shop. I found it helpful and will be working the plan I’ve devised based on some of Lynn’s suggestions.

In the next six months I intend to:

1. Finish the second draft of Loose Daddy by July 31, 2008; and

 2. Finish the official first draft of Sweet Taboo by December 31, 2008.

At this point in my writing life, deadlines are a good thing. I really must cross the abyss.

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One thought on “crossing the abyss

  1. Some good advice from that book. I’ve been away to California and now trying to get myself back into the groove! Just spent two days on a media culinary tour of two suburbs which was great fun but my! so much food! Now I have to write about it of course. I guess that makes me a foody writer now. Well anyway, I have some rough drafts and will blog it first just to get the feel of it. Also finished another chapter segement for my novel.

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