I Don't Think Stephen Done It This Way

Issue #115 * Blog #28-2019 * Read Time: 5 minutes * Section: Joe on Writing

Hello followers, readers and those just passing through. I welcome all and hope everyone enjoys the blog.

Hey what do you think about the title, is it catchy or what?

I can’t take credit for it. The great Waylon Jennings wrote and recorded a song titled, “Are You Sure Hank Done it This Way.” Mister Jennings was talking about none other than Hank Williams Senior.

Why did I change the name from Hank to Stephen and who is Stephen? I write novels not songs, the Stephen that I am referring to is Mister Stephen King.

Mister King and myself are a lot alike in several ways. We write in the same genre, have websites and computers. He writes in a corner, I write in a…OK maybe we are not that similar.

Now to the differences between he and I. Mister King is more famous than I am, at this time. When it comes to writing he is a master at the craft. I’m still a work in progress. Mister King is light years ahead of me in number of books written and sold. He has forgotten more about writing than I know at this point.

I would say all the above puts me behind the eight ball so to speak. What is one to do when placed in this situation?

You read, books written by those who have made it. Especially if they have written a book on writing like the book pictured here, Stephen King On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft. This is must read for any aspiring author.

However don’t limit yourself to one author. Besides Steven King I read books written by James Patterson, Philip Margolin and Dean Koontz along with others.

Read them the first time through as a reader and enjoy the book. Read it the second time as a writer picking up on their technique and style. Also read other genres than the one you write in. Reading allows us to gain knowledge that we can use to hone our craft and grow. Check out What I Learned By Reading Novels By: Phillip Margolin to get an idea of what I’m talking about

Along with reading, we must write.

Not every once in a while or when we feel like it but everyday. A writer who is disciplined can sit down and write 2, 500 words a day. That is about 10 pages of a printed book. When the thirty day mark rolls around the writer has 75,000 words, that is a 300 page book.

I know what you are thinking. Yeah, if you are Stephen King maybe that will be the outcome.

No it takes Stephen King about three months to write a book. That includes researching, character building and outlining. After all that is done and you begin to write is where the 2,500 word goal comes in. Still skeptical, keep reading.

I’m always looking for better ways to write. Whether its reading about writing or trying a new program. That is what I did last month.

I downloaded a thirty day free trial of Scrivener a writing program that was designed for writers and authors. The trial version of the program has the same features as the paid version. Read Scrivener – Writing Program to learn more about the program. I scanned over the operating instructions, once comfortable with the program I was ready.

I had a project that all the research and other task had been completed. The word count goal for the project was 50,000 words. I imported or copied and pasted all my documents, notes and charts to Scrivener.

Now it was time to put Scrivener and some of Stephen King’s writing techniques from his book to the test.

I started writing at the same time everyday. I had no end time, that came when I reached the goal of 2,500 words. Mister King hits this word goal most of the time around lunch and is done for the day. When the thirty day free trial was up I had completed the book. The ending word count was over 74,000 words. That gave me an average word count of 2,466 words a session.

However I don’t think Stephen did it this way. Why?

My sessions lasted any where from four hours to nine. There were some days I would hit 5,000 words a session. There were others, I was lucky to hit a 1,000.

What I learned from this experiment.

  • Scrivener is the best program I have used for writing. Everything you need is in one program and at your fingertips. There is no switching programs to see your notes and other information.
  • Distractions: There is a reason Stephen King has his desk where it is and his cell phone in the other room. They are other tings he does to keep distractions and interruptions from occurring. The days I hit or exceeded my goal were the days that all I had to focus on was my writing.
  • Lunch: I found that if I went upstairs and ate lunch I got caught up the days events and lost track of time a long with forgetting my story. I noticed that if I ate at my desk my mind stayed in the story and I would type out 250 words or so. Not a lot but, more than no words at all and losing the train of thought.
  • Writing Schedule: Writing everyday and a schedule is important. Doesn’t matter what time of day you start to write as long as it the same time everyday.

For those that work a normal job and write before or afterwards, this can be difficult. You may not have four to eight hours of free time. I know, I used to work a sixty hour week job.

Here are some tips for those of you who do work and write in your spare time.

Write at the same time everyday but instead of using a word count goal have a time limit. Maybe at least an hour long session. Here is another idea. I have a friend who has full time job. She writes one and a half hours every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and three hours on Saturday. She follows that schedule religiously.

Back to the blog subject, my quest to be more productive in my writing. Steven King’s book and this experiment highlighted my weakness. Distractions. I’m thankful for that as I now know what has to change.

I hope this blog gave you insight and one again here is the link to learn more about Scrivener. Scrivener – Writing Program


Blogger: Joseph Clay

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