“Want to Write a Book? Then Write Every Day or Quit Now.”

Stephen Hunter, author of dozens of novels including Shooter, writes:

…The most difficult test of the author isn’t his mastery of time or dialogue, his gift for action or character, his ability to suggest verisimilitude in a few strokes, but his ability to get back into the book each day. You have to enter its world. It demands a certain level of concentration to do so. You have to train yourself to that concentration. The easier it is to get there, the better off you’ll be, day in and day out. In fact, if you skip a day, much less a week, the anxiety you unload on yourself doesn’t increase arithmetically but exponentially. If it’s hard after one day, it’ll be hard squared, then cubed, ultimately hard infinite-ed. And that’s only by Wednesday!

Want to maintain your writing momentum? Then put off the research:

You can do the research later. You cannot use “more research” as a crutch to justify your sloth. You are selling narrative not background. The most important truths you tell involve what you know about human behavior, not what color the Obersturmbannfuhrer’s epaulets are. If you don’t know it, just bull on through and keep going. Make it up. Jam it with placeholders. It’s OK. At that stage you need momentum, not precision. That’s why it’s a first draft; that’s why there’ll be a second draft.

So sit down and write until you reach the two most important words:

The End.

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Categories: Writing | Tags: , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on ““Want to Write a Book? Then Write Every Day or Quit Now.”

  1. I read this some time ago, and loved it so much I printed it out and keep it handy, for when I am having a challenging day. Thanks for sharing it with others, Darrick.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. theleagueofelder

    I write everyday. Some days I squirt out four to five hundred words. Other days, when I’m on a roll, I’ll write several thousand. I always am working on several projects at once, ping-ponging back and forth. It usually isn’t till the second or third draft that the work becomes interesting, that’s when the creativity happens. Once I’ve got a framework in place, my thoughts soar. Fortunately, writing fantastical fiction like I do, I don’t have to research much of anything, it’s all made up. I never take notes or prepare an outline, I write on the fly. One big drawback of that is I tend to change my mind a lot, requiring a ton of revision, sometimes eliminating the story I started off write.

    I think of it like this–the key is to never stop thinking about your work. It’s like a wind up toy in the back of my head, always churning, always talking. It’s like a giant pot of stew sitting on the back burner that’s been slow-cooking for who knows how long. That stew is always hot, always delicious, always ready to go.

    Partake of the stew, man. Eat, just eat…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kori Michelle

    Love it! It’s amazing that this popped up in my email- perfect timing too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful words of wisdom! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Like

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