The next three or four posts I blog (there might be more, if I’m lucky) will be about how to be productive as a writer every single day of your life.
When I started this blog, back in December 2009, I wrote an article titled, Write Every Day. It was my very first blog post. I remember how excited I was when I published it. Through the years, I’ve been kicking myself to do a follow up on that article, the how-to of writing every day.
Kicking myself around paid off in an inspiration overdose and finally, I decided the time was right to sit down and get this over it. I'm taking my hints from words of great writers and personal role models.
First one up’s a great writer who passed away in the month of June (while I was busy flexing my short story muscles); Ray Bradbury. Mr. Bradbury demands four pages a day. That’s four pages every day!
“I always say to students, ‘Give me four pages a day, every day!’” – Ray Bradbury
Why does Bradbury believe you can achieve this feat? I borrowed some of his quotes gleaned off Writer’s Digest to explain this:
1. Write Intuitively –
Bradbury believes that writing ought to be intuitive.
“The only good writing is intuitive writing. It would be a big bore if you knew where it was going.” Ray Bradbury
I’ve accomplished much of my writing assignments in this manner. Just put pen to paper and scribble away.
A word of caution: this might be a trifle tough if you have not been doing a whole lot of writing. However, with time and consistent attendance at your writing desk, you will discover it’s the smoothest way to get progressive work done.
2. Read Intensely –
“You must live feverishly inside a library.” – Ray Bradbury
I’ve learned from experience you can’t write worth a darn, if you don’t read ravenously. The subconscious picks stuff off pages of books, things the conscious part of the mind may not even notice, and stows them away.
I absolutely demand of you and everyone I know that they be widely read in every damn field there is; in every religion and every art form and don’t tell me you haven’t got time! There’s plenty of time. You need all of these cross-references. You never know when your head is going to use this fuel, this food for its purposes. – Ray Bradbury
You can’t have unprecedented outbursts of inspiration if you ain’t brimming with necessary resources. Feed your soul.
3. Favor Quantity over Sense –
The foremost thought to have in mind when you undertake this literary adventure is this: you don’t have to make sense. Possibly, much of the time.
At first, much of what you write would be crap, anyway.
“You will have to write and put away or burn a lot of material before you are comfortable in this medium… Quantity gives experience. From experience alone can quality come.”
– Ray Bradbury.
4. Dredge into Your Subconscious –
“All of the good, weird stories I’ve written are based on things I’ve dredged out of my subconscious. That’s the real stuff. Everything else is fake.” – Ray Bradbury
Your work, your story is really how the little chap on the inside interprets life and people around him. Remember, when you surrender to the inner flow, you unplug your muse to take charge!
5. Thou Shalt Not Intellectualize –
Thinking is your worst enemy at this moment! I know, it sounds crazy. And maybe, it is but ask anybody, they already believe you’re nuts for being a writer!
“The trouble with a lot of people who try to write is they intellectualize about it. That comes after. The intellect is given to us by God to test things once they’re done, not to worry about things ahead of time.”
“It has to be exciting, instantaneous and it has to be a surprise. Then it all comes blurting out and it’s beautiful. I’ve had a sign by my typewriter for 25 years now which reads, ‘DON’T THINK!’”
“You don’t have any control over your mind at a time like that, and you don’t want it, see? Let it run wild!”
Go and Do Likewise…
“I always say to students, “give me four pages a day, every day.” That’s three or four hundred thousand words a year. Most of that will be bilge, but the rest …? It will save your life!”
That falls between 800 and a thousand words a day quota. Now, go knock yourself out with the inspiration of these words.
…And keep your pen bleeding!