"It's important to set aside time to daydream, as much as it is to have writing time. After all, you need something to write about." –Thomas Pluck
Hello there, fellow slackers! Today we have another installment of "GET TO WORK," this week featuring Thomas Pluck. An outstanding crime fiction writer and all-around good guy, Thomas is the co-editor of Lost Children: A Charity Anthology. It's a collection of 30 incredible stories, the proceeds of which go to PROTECT and Children 1st.
If you recall, the question I asked was:
Do you have trouble buckling down and getting to your writing? If so, what is your no fail (or mostly no fail way) of getting yourself concentrate and get the work done? Or is it such a habit now it's really not a problem?
Thomas Pluck: I wish I had one, because lately I've been succumbing to sloth. Guilt always works. If I say I'm "off to the word mines" on Twitter, I know I can't keep jabbering with my friends without knowing they'll be looking at that tweet and thinking, "This guy's no pro. He's here goofing off, when he said he was on the clock. I bet he's still in his boxers, and that his feet smell like Frito's corn chips because he hasn't showered and it's 4pm." That usually works. It's also good for keeping you on your diet, and not buying Frito's corn chips.
But seriously, folks… the old adage of "set aside time to write" is what I do. When I get in my pink dining room chair in front of my laptop, I'm all business. I plug in the headphones and choose the proper playlist. (If I'm writing the novel in progress, it's AC/DC, all Bon Scott and Flick of the Switch, their most underrated album; If it's Denny, I put on Run DMC and Grandmaster Flash). By then, I'm usually thirsty and get a beer, and the cat steals my chair. I can tell how focused I am on writing by how much effort the cats put into getting my attention. Shadow, a twenty pounder we call Cat Loaf, will jump on the table and sit on my hand. Charlie, the Siamese rescue we call the Gimp, will paw at my elbow. Word count low? Blame the cats.
Christa Faust said that what separates the amateurs from the pros is that the pros write even when it's tough. Like the famous Jack London adage- you can't wait for inspiration, you have to after it with a club. The other great piece of advice is from Hemingway, who said to stop writing while you still know what happens next. It works like a charm. By the time you write again, you've (hopefully) been daydreaming and taking notes about your work in progress, so you go a bit further, and further the next day. It's important to set aside time to daydream, as much as it is to have writing time. After all, you need something to write about. I've always been a daydreamer, so I steal moments where I can. So if you're a lazy, guilt-ridden daydreamer, writing should come easy.
Just lay off the corn chips.
Note from Holly: Well, it's 12:26pm and I'm still in my PJs. Make of that what you will.
Thanks for stopping by, Thomas! Some great advice here (I especially like the playlist idea).