Friday, June 17, 2011

Running with Scissors & Other Good Writing Habits


Every good writer should run with scissors. In the first draft stage we should write with reckless abandon. Don’t think. Just write. It’s a great way to tap into our unique voice. Don’t stop to worry if anyone will approve of it. Don’t stop to wonder if the writing style is acceptable. Don’t fret over broken rules. Just write. We can always fix it later.

Every good writer should become a construction worker. Working from a solid foundation – the plot—we should write and edit our novels in stages. The glossy polish should happen only when we’re close to finished. There’s no point polishing the brass fittings until the rooms are up and stable.

Every good writer should act like a hero. We need to show a certain amount of bravery to take on this profession. We need to never give up despite the odds and always stay strong. Heroes conquer where others quail.

Every good writer should own a padded room. We all know those crazy days are going to happen when nothing goes right and our characters don’t behave and the scenes won’t work. We might as well plan for it.

What other good habits do you practise?

38 comments:

  1. I run with scissors all right! And shears and machetes as well. But I like the revision stage, so it's all good. Now, will that padded room include velcro in case I want to stick myself on the wall?

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  2. I run with scissors. Sadly, so does my protagonist, which is how she loses her eye.

    Love the analogy. Write with reckless abandon. Edit with a careful eye.

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  3. I don't know if it's a good habit or not, but I outline like crazy, write with wild abandon, and then put on the polish. Then I have CPs look at it and go back to square one.

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  4. Great hooks! You drew me right into each point with them. Thanks!

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  5. Well...I definitely approve of that last idea. :-)

    <3 Gina Blechman

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  6. Wouldn't running with scissors pretty much guarantee you a padded room?

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  7. Haha, I was just going to say what Jeffrey did.

    Great post! They are all so true.

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  8. Great tips, especially the last one. I also really like the third one. I just finished a book on Comedy Writing by Gene Perret. He recommends acting like you've already made it. It's similar advice and very helpful. Thanks.
    Cheers,
    Robyn

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  9. I'm not running with my sissors (I'm too clumpsy for that), but I'm not afraid to use them in my WIP. ;)

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  10. Great post! Nicely condensed, and it gave me that extra push I need to get focused again on my many projects. I love your title; I always joke that one of my favourite hobbies is to run with scissors!

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  11. Love the title! I guess we should all run with glue too - to paste it all back together after we've cut. :)

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  12. Alex, haha I have this mental image of you hanging from the walls via velcro ;)

    Theresa, lol, your poor protagonist!

    Susan, yep, sounds like a good habit to me.

    Pam, hehe thanks

    Gina, padded rooms are good for the soul

    Jeffrey, I'd like to think so ;)

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  13. Jennifer, great minds.

    Robyn, yes! That's exactly it.

    Stina, hehe a good plan ;)

    Michaela, that's fantastic to hear. Best of luck with your projects.

    Laura, hahaha, yep, glue would help too :)

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  14. BRILIANT analogies, loved them all! LOL! :O)

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  15. May I add "all writers should live next to a chocolate factory above a pub with at least three cats."?

    :-)

    Take care
    x

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  16. NaNoWriMo is an excellent way for practicing the first point :D
    And I like feeling that I'm a hero!

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  17. Hahaha--I've totally needed that padded room. Writers also need volume dials on their ears--knowing when to listen to others and when to tune everybody out is an important skill (one I'm still working on mastering).

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  18. Gosh, Lynda, these are all so great! And encouraging to boot! As for me, I try to not let the outside elements in my life--the bad stuff, I mean, the stress--effect my writing. And that's a difficult feat sometimes, but entirely necessary if one deigns to produce solid work. When I'm stressed at the day job, I tell myself, "Come 4:45, you've gotta let it go. No matter what." Same thing with anything else. When I show up at the page, all other cares and worries must take a back seat.

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  19. darling, are you secretly working as a tailor when you have so many scissors in your house? :)

    We don't have many writers being heroes, but I wish it was different. Being a hero and a moral example should be the primary goal of every writer.

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  20. I practice the habit of thinking positively about the whole process. I trust the process. When faced with the blank page, I tell myself, I've been here before and I've managed to channel excellence in the past. I can do it, again.

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  21. I do run with huge scissors. I also try to read a lot and listen to music when I am stressed with plot or character problems..

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  22. Good title and good advise! I agree a 110% :)

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  23. Good advice, even for those of us who just write for fun.

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  24. Love the padded room. My youngest just moved out. Maybe I should convert her room! This is a good post.

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  25. Keep at it. Make a writing time and don't give it up for anything.

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  26. A catchy title! Running with scissors. Oooh. I can see my little children running with pointed objects and I would quickly grab them. But this is a great analogy--all of them are. Just get those words down on paper!
    Ann Best’s Blog

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  27. Oh I especially love the fisrt one. Where would I be without reckless abandon!

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  28. this is really good advice for any aspiring writer

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  29. Nice! Keep up the good work!

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  30. Great blog post! I shut the telephone ringer off so I won't be disturbed(That's why they make answering machines). The blasted thing never rings unless I'm deep in thought brainstorming and producing, and don't want to be interrupted.
    M.J. Macie

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  31. A writer is a leader. People only follow those who appear to know what they are doing or talking about. Strong, confident leaders accomplish the best results, they do everything with reckless abandon, not caring what anyone else thinks, they're on a mission. Nothing written is cast in stone, not unless you are talking about God's word that is, and can always be cleaned up before publishing. That's what I like the most about writing as opposed to talking. When I open my mouth, by reflex action, my foot goes into it. When I write, not that I'm a professional or anything special,I can always go back to it and fix things I might have misrepresented. The padded room is only required when my computer or blogger drives me nuts. I do however have a thousand hectares to go walkabout in, good enough for me and much more fun. I really like this post of yours, well done. God bless, Geoff.

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  32. You always have such great posts! Yes, I am a big believer in running with scissors. That is my favorite part of the writing process, before I have to think about editing :)

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  33. Madeleine, thanks

    Old Kitty, YES! Love it! I'd love to live next to a choc factory, though it's probably a good thing I don't ;)

    Dawrei, yes, so true. NaNo is great for that.

    Sarah, when you've mastered it, teach me how ;)

    Alyssia, that's a great habit. I'm a bit of a stress bunny so that's great advice.

    Dezzy, hahaha yeah even Hubby was surprised we owned so many scissors lol. And yes, I totally agree.

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  34. Suze, that's a fantastic habit too. I think it's necessary to keep thinking positive thoughts otherwise it can all get overwhelming.

    Rachna, music is a great soother.

    Mark, thanks

    Canyon Girl, thanks

    LynNerd, excellent plan! ;)

    M Pax, perceverance is important.

    Ann Best, yes, scary in the hands of children, exciting int he hands of writers :)

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  35. Deana, I love that part of writing.

    Timmy, thanks

    Jason, thanks

    M J Macie, hahah yeah you noticed that too? ;)

    Geoff, your words ring with truth. And yes, blogger and a malfunctioning computer can turn anyone nuts. Hehehe

    Alexia, yeah, editing is completely different. Gotta love variety! ;)

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  36. Love, love this post - it is just what I needed to read today. I know I'm reading it late, but I found it and it gave me the extra kick in the pants I needed.
    Running with scissors, starting now.

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  37. Run with scissors! I love that. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  38. Tyrean, hehe so glad to hear it :)

    Angela, :)

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