I loved the movie Finding Forrester. Forrester sets up two typewriters across from each other at a table for himself and his protégé Jamal, seats himself and starts typing, continuing to type throughout the entire dialogue. Forrester: (nodding for Jamal to sit) “Go ahead.” Jamal: (hesitating) Go ahead and what? Forrester: Write. Jamal: What are you doing? Forrester: I’m writing…like you’ll be when you start punching those keys.
Writing is about you and the pen or the keyboard and getting ideas on the page to connect with readers. Look up prolific contemporary writers like Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, James Patterson, R.L. Stine. You can bet their butts are planted in their desk chairs, their fingers are flying over the keyboards, and their pages are stacking up. Every single day.
Formulate a schedule and pace your workload.
I write a dark fiction magazine (four columns, two short stories, per month), four series of articles for Yahoo (Write Now, Disability Challenge, Healthy Nudge, and My Feminist Heroes), and I designate one day a week as Editor’s Day.
My schedule runs something like this:
I write from five in the morning until the article or story is ready to submit (usually somewhere between noon and two). I break for lunch for an hour or two, check emails, Facebook, and do some exercise. Then I do research for the next day’s article. Monday is Disability Challenge, Tuesday is Write Now, Wednesday is My Feminist Heroes, Thursday is Healthy Nudge, Friday and Saturday is Owl’s Eye View, (Week #1 – Swooping Through the Years, Week #2 – Macabre Mirth and Visceral Verse, Week #3 – Short Story One, Week #4 – Short Story Two.) Sunday is Editor’s Day for writing business, but I also write the Life’s a Hoot column for OEV, which is mostly teasers for the columns and short stories, and a personal note from the managing editor: me. Later in the day I research Monday’s Disability Challenge article.
Do you have to be anti-social to be a prolific writer?
Maybe a little. It depends on your definition of prolific. But no matter whether you write one book a year or ten, writing takes a level of commitment to a gift that allows you to express your ideas, feelings, and opinions and connect with the whole world, letting everyone into your head and heart. Face to face? No. Soul to soul? Often. But only if you plant your butt in the chair, get the story written and have the audacity to submit it for publication or self-publish it.