|Photo by Tracy S. Williams|
Well, I’m creating the written variety.
Since Jan. 2, I’ve been getting up early, walking down the hall and sitting at my desk. How is this different than my Jan. 1 routine? I’m not reading news sites, commenting on blogs or checking the weather — out the window or on an app. I’m putting “butt in chair,” opening a Word file and writing.
One of my 2012 goals is to write five pages a day, five days a week.
I won’t bore you with the details every week, but for my first week — it worked! I have 25 pages or around 6,500 words.
I came up with this routine after reading Marion Roach Smith’s The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life. I found this book through Jeff Goins blog when he interviewed Smith. I checked out her website and purchased her book for the Kindle to read over Christmas.
After extracting the Kindle from Hubby’s Angry Birds-playing-hands, I finished reading Smith’s book before New Year’s Eve. She shares wonderful stories to illustrate her points on writing memoir whether it’s a book for publication, an essay or a treasured family memory.
Several points in Smith’s book struck me as doable for my memoir-in-progress manuscript:
- Start small
- Write with intent
- A punch list for a memoir project
Here’s a video from Smith’s website:
“The Memoir Project” from Marion Roach Smith on Vimeo.
Here are some recent posts on her site:
- Memoir Writing Resolutions. Number One: No More Writing Exercises
- Writing Memoir: Learning Your Limits — with an example of one of her essays
- Writing Memoir: The First Draft. Wretching and Moaning All the Way. — This explains the vomit draft
- Blog topics include creative inspiration, dog memoir, food memoir, memoir how-to, my memoir writing, news you can use, NPR essays, parenting memoir, recommended memoirs
By the time I read Smith’s book, I already decided this would be the year for a completed MIP draft. Her book gave me a nudge to make sure it happens in five pages a day.
Are you trying a new writing method this year or want to share what works for you?
Coleen Patrick says
This sounds like a method that works! I really like having a writing schedule—I realized it in the middle of NaNo last year. I have a block of time set aside in the morning where I turn off the internet and then write. After that I am free to do the rest 🙂
Irene Latham says
I bought this book a few months ago to help with some essays I’m working on — I dogeared a bunch of pages! I love how everything is a story. I’ve started keeping a small notebook as she suggests.
Louise Nottingham says
Thank you for this inspiring post! It makes me want to get up, walk down the hall, sit down and write a memory. I also now want to read that book! Thank you again!
Beth K. Vogt says
I laughed out loud when I read your blog headline. I often tell writers: Just throw up on the page. We’ll sort through what’s there later and see what’s worth saving.
Good for you, Stacy! Stay the course.
But thanks for stopping long enough to share your method with others.
Marion Roach Smith says
Imagine my delight to find this lovely post here.
Thank you. I am deeply grateful for the kind words, vomit and all.
Love your headline. Just adore it.
Write on, sister.
We’re all enjoying your fine work.
Great post! I enjoy reading about the process that other writers use, what works for them. Good luck in 2012!
Karen S. Elliott says
Love your title! I’m doing things differently this year. I quit four FB groups. I realized they added nothing to my experience (or the experience of a lot of others for that matter). Also, spending less time on FB and cleaning out my “friends.” More alignment with helpful, pay-it-forward people. Ditching the me-mes (they are so tiring). I have a list of attainable goals. I’m writing more!
That’s fantastic, Stacy! I discovered someone at the grocery store is writing a memoir so I’ll pass this info on.
I’m not really changing the way I write, but I am going to submit more this year. I mainly write picture books and now that my writing group is meeting weekly, I am getting a lot more feedback and editing finished on them.
I’m not changing the way I write but as of the start of this year there won’t be a lot of writing.
Finding that agent is at the top of the list. Ah!
Good for you for reading and discovering what method works the best. I look forward to reading about your continued WIP journey!
Inspiring post, Stacy! Your writing vomit (ha!) reminds me of the morning pages in Artist’s Way — only with more intent. Can’t wait to hear more about your memoir as you truck along!
You just reminded me that I need to write my goals down for 2012! Yours is very inspiring. Thank you!
Johanna Garth says
I think goal oriented writing is absolutely necessary otherwise its too easy to just drift. When I’m writing I make myself do butt in chair until I get 2000 words a day. When I’m editing I do about 15 pages, which is what I’m doing like crazy right now.
Susanna Leonard Hill says
I’m envious of your self-discipline! I fully intend to sit right down and write, but first my husband’s up, then my daughter, I get side-tracked writing my blog and then taking my daughter to school and then making a pathetic attempt at exercise… before you know it it’s noon and I haven’t written anything I really want to write. Time for a new plan!
Sheila Seabrook says
Wow, Stacy, what wonderful progress you’re making. I agree with the no distractions, vomit out the pages routine. Hey, we can always go back and fix our mess. LOL! Which is what I’m doing now, editing. More vomit, only of a different kind. 🙂
Stacy S. Jensen says
@Coleen – That’s a great plan. I’m behind on the “rest,” but am ahead on the manuscript.
@Irene – I made lots of notes and highlights in the kindle. I type out notes on my iPhone.
@Louise – Good luck. One time, I heard a speaker say she did Memory Mondays – one memory a week for her children. Very good idea.
@Beth – Yep. Throwing up on the page. I’m doing my best to stay the course.
@Marion – Thanks for stopping by and for writing the book.
@Heather – True. It’s fun to see how others write.
@Karen-By changing my writing schedule, I’m realigning too.
@Catherine – Too funny. Thanks.
@Janet – Ah, a weekly writing group. That sounds like heaven. Good luck with the submissions.
@Kelley – Good luck also with submissions!
@August – I also discovered in the last two months that I was using blog comments almost like morning pages. So, I thought I should funnel those words into my own work and comment later.
@Romelle – Good luck with writing out your goals. It helps me to keep a list. Plus, it’s fun to check off the completed items.
@Johanna – Being a drifter sounds much nicer than being a procrastinator. It’s easy to lose time and energy in the “bright shiny” internet.
@Susanna – Good luck with planning. I’m getting up with Hubby. I’ve timed it and can do most of my five pages in that first hour before Kiddo wakes up.
@Sheila – I like that “we can always go back and fix our mess!”
Patricia T. says
When your title certainly is a show stopper. LOL! Made me want to read on. I think it is great you are working on your memoir and the discipline you found. I’m not a morning person anymore. You know I had so much more discipline when I worked full time. And, before I get involved in the blogging I was writing a lot more than I am now. Have to find a balance. Sigh!
so proud of you for doing the five pages every morning! Congrats to you!
I’m busy reading in this interlude before marketing really takes me over. I’m making up for when my grandson was here and didn’t get any reading done. I’m almost done with Stephen Kings “11/22/63”. so good so well written.
I also use comments as a kind of memoir. Nice insight you had.
Cool project and hey, at least you are creating. And 6,500 words in a week is impressive. I’m sure the result is much better than you describe in your title. 😉
Julie Hedlund says
It sounds like a very effective method. But as with any method, it only works if you use it. And it sounds like this one works for you. Congratulations on your progress so far!
Cathy Mealey says
No advice – just a big HUZZAH! Carry on, keep writing!
Way to go Stacy! My husband introduced me to that term several years ago. That’s how I write. I vomit the entire thing out first before I do any edits. I find that if I stop to edit midway, that’s a distraction slowing my progress. Edits can way. Cheers to you. Keep it up!
Mark Koopmans says
THANKS for sharing!! I’m also on a M.I.P path and have been struggling to get through the middle, but there’s some good tips here, and I already feel more motivated.
(Love the title of your post, too 🙂
Stacy S. Jensen says
@Patricia – I sometimes have less discipline with the whole day ahead of me. Balance? What is that?
@Clar – I’m typing along. I heard Kings book was good. I’ve sneaking in some reading each day too.
@Hannah – Yes. It’s a first draft.
@Julie – True about any method. I’m pushing through so far with my goal.
@Cathy – Thanks.
@Debra-Edits can stop me faster than anything. I’m pushing through.
@Mark – I think you’ll find Marion’s website helpful. Best of luck. Yeah, I think the title either hooked folks or made them say “no thanks.” 🙂
Robyn Campbell says
I need you to move in with for just a little while. Family will understand, I presume? If you’re here, we’ll write and write and write our little butts off.
Sounds like you are so dang organized. *jealous*
Excellent stuff–thanks for all the links. I’ve just started following your blog and some of your more frequent commenters. You all amaze me–how do you find the time?
Kathy Cannon Wiechman says
It’s great when you can find that inspiration that puts your butt in the chair, but it’s even better when your accomplishments in the chair keep driving you forward.
Kathy Cannon Wiechman (Swagger Writers)
MP Flory says
You sure get tons of comments! I need to peruse your blog more to figure out how to get more on mine! mpflory.blogspot.com
Debbie Maxwell Allen says
Wow, I’m so impressed with your determination! Way to go! I need some of that to rub off on me.
Stacy S. Jensen says
@Robyn -Family will understand. Come on over.
@Carrie – Find time? Sometimes, I forget to shower during naptime. It’s a reality.
@Kathy-Thanks for stopping by. Your collective blog at Swagger Writers is very nice.
@MP – I wrote a guest post about it once. I visit, etc. a lot. I had a problem leaving a comment on your MP Flory blog. I’ll try again. By the third time, I just left. You may want to get someone to test your comment form to see how it works. 🙂
Debbie – Thanks. So far, I’m on track. 🙂
Linda at teacherdance says
This is just terrific Stacy. I’m glad you found me. Is that serendipity or magic or ? I’ll start following you to see what else you have to say, but thanks now for the links. I’ll use some of the tips for my group. Good for you for following your plan!
What works best for me is making a plan—any kind of plan. The goal is all well and good, but figuring out how to get there is the key for me.
Good luck, Stacy. This is a great goal and plan!
Playing by the book says
I find early morning such a great time for writing, though I do love waking up gently with a coffee and a leaf through my favourite blogs and a catch up with news sites. Well done for managing to switch off all distractions!
Angie Mizzell says
That’s awesome. Looking back on my memoir, I was initially overwhelmed at the sheer size of it. So I’d go days and days and not write anything because “I had no time.” But in the end, you know what? I had to sit myself down and write. Write through the hard parts. Trust myself and where whatever I was typing that day was leading me. What you’re doing now is how books are born.
Stacy S. Jensen says
@Linda – Actually, I think it’s motherreader.com’s comment challenge. Glad to meet you too.
@JenFW-Very true. Plans are good.
@Playing by the book – I love waking up to blogs too, but lots of rabbit holes for me to fall into. 🙂
@Angie -With my new schedule, I’ve found time or at least claimed it. Thanks.
Kim Van Sickler says
Good luck with your writing goal of five pages five days/week. Sounds doable if you can minimize distractions. Thanks for following the Swagger blog. Graziella’s working hard on her memoir too.