“I feel I have a book in me.” Eh… not really

Text: Solveig Hansen, 2016 / Photo: Gaelle Marcel/Unsplash

My writing progress.

“I sit, I stand up, I walk, I sit down, I get coffee and then some more. I’m not a patient writer. But then, once in a while, I get completely absorbed in the task before me and ideas and words flow freely. The sun sets and when it seemingly suddenly rises again, I’m still sitting there in front of my computer.” This is how I used to describe my writing habits. The year I wrote 9 blog posts.

Writing requires discipline. I like the idea of comparing writing to exercising. You don’t exercise for hours and hours and then stop for weeks. You make it a habit and block off time. Do the same with your writing. Write for half an hour or one hour or three hours every day, or write 500 words, or 1000 words. Think about it: If you write 500 words every day, you will have a 50,000 word script in 100 days. Or, if you write flash fiction, you might write a short story in a week. Or one short story a day if you are a 100 word story writer.

In 2001, creative writing professor Robert Olen Butler at the Florida State University demonstrated discipline and the writing process by creating a 4000+ word story during a live webcast of 17 two-hour sessions. He used a 1913 photo postcard as the basis for his story, which is called This is Earl Sandt. He wrote for two hours every night except Saturdays, some nights 300 words, others 400 words, others again close to 600 words. I watched all the 34 hours – hours worth many a writing workshop – and this is the most important thing I took with me: You have to commit yourself to write every day.

I’ve always enjoyed writing, ever since childhood. I became a translator and web editor, and with the Internet and blogs, I found a platform to write for myself, although not always easy because of a sudden inner resistance that kept me from writing. Despite my urge to write, the resistance was sometimes so strong that it seemed like a physical barrier to overcome. I now think about it as birth pangs, unborn stories struggling to find their way into the world. There is only one thing to do, and that is to sit down and start writing.

“To write more, write more,” WordPress reminded their bloggers in 2010 and encouraged us to write a post every day for one year, presenting us with a daily writing prompt. I jumped on the challenge, and the resistance faded away as the days and weeks went by. The daily prompts worked like assignments with preset deadlines. My goal was to prove to myself that I could write whenever I wanted. I only had time for 98 posts, but I’ve kept on blogging ever since. “To write more, write more” is true. Put one idea on the paper and the next will follow.

So, I went from 9 to 100+ posts in one year and started to call myself a blogger and writer. I might become an author, but not of novels. I don’t have those types of books in me. I don’t have the patience required to write long stories, and I’m not really interested in composing dialogs and complex relationships. I like to write about writing and publishing, and the writing process and the birth of characters intrigue me.

Short-short stories are more in line with my patience span and will be my next step up the writing ladder. No endless TV Shop style “wait, there is more” type of stories, but straight-to-the-point stories short enough to read on the train to and from work.

I might have e-book singles in me.

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