Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Look at a Working Writer's Process!

Bestselling author Jeffrey Archer has his writing process down to a science. This talk is an interesting look at a writer's daily routine. What do you think, could you write every day for eight hours writing at two hour intervals for two hours at a time?

9 comments:

Keanan Brand said...

I don't know if I could be so regimented, because I write when I can, and I've sat/stood/paced for hours, willing the words to come, and they don't. I've written just plain awful pages, waiting for words to come, and they don't. Then, sometimes, in the middle of some other activity (work, for instance!), I'll have to stop and scribble down all the ideas pouring from my brain to my pen.

I do agree with Archer, though, in how hard this writing gig can be. A teenage Club kid who's moved across state has been e-mailing me this past week, and telling me about his latest writing endeavor. This one he likes, he said, because it's coming so easy. I had to tell him that, if he wants to be a writer, he's going to have to expect and be prepared for the dry spells, when every word is agony. How's that for encouraging a newbie?

But he has talent, and I told him I'd like to read his work when it's finished. When I was in elementary and junior high, if it weren't for the teacher and the older writers (middle-aged and elderly) who praised what was good and pointed out what was bad, I don't know if I'd be writing today. God bless 'em.

Scotland said...

That's pretty intense. He's right, though; there's no reason this job is any different or easier than any other. Acting, real acting, takes just as much hard work; writing, music, all the arts. It's not just pie and ice cream, which most people seem to regard it as. That's not to say writing isn't the most enjoyable thing I've ever done, but enjoyable doesn't mean easy, and I can enjoy it even when it feels like getting my wisdom teeth pulled. Without novocain.

Alexander Field said...

Yeah I agree with both your statements Keanan & Scotland, writing is hard. I like how honest Archer is about that. His writing process sounds thoroughly intense however, though if I did it full time (like a job!), I would probably take a similar approach...writing at least 7-8 hours a day. The working writer has to work through the block, a. word. at. a. time!

Pink Ink said...

Well, I can probably write for two hours without interruptions, it's getting back "after the break" that usually is hard. :-)

I do agree that my writing is best when I pour out my story within a short period of time instead letting it sit and cool off.

Valerie Comer said...

The best I can say for that clip is that he doesn't seem to know there's any fun in it. Sure there's work. There's TONS of work. But it's worthwhile practicing and getting better, and surely we can't all quit our jobs and write full-time and write FIFTEEN drafts of the same novel (oh, spare me!!)

Janet said...

I envy him being able to establish a routine like that. I'm still trying to find one that is flexible enough to accommodate everything else life throws at me.

I don't have any problem with the surgeon writing between operations; most writers have day jobs and have to write around their other activities. Where I have a problem is him sending it out to be read without reworking the material. I don't do 16 drafts (although my third draft entails multiple run-throughs, so it's a bit moot) but there is no way I send out a first draft to anybody, let alone a professional writer. Even my critique group gets at least a polished version of first-draft chapters.

What's your routine, Alex?

Anita said...

With bottomless pots of hot green tea and mucho crunchy snacks, I can do anything for eight hours.

Brandon said...

If I didn't have to work, I could spend that much time each day...however, the two hour breaks would throw me off completely. I'd rather write in a big chunk of time. Say 7am-2pm with thirty minuets for lunch.
I usually write four days a week and spend 5hours writing each of those days.

Alexander Field said...

What I love about all these comments is that everyone seems to have their own way, their own process for writing. Keanan, you like to stand up while you write (which is amazing!). Scotland, you write even though it's hard. Pink Ink, you like to knock it out in shorts bursts. Valerie, it sounds as if you will enjoy your writing, and you're not going to do fifteen drafts if its not required! Janet, you won't let you writing out of your sight until several drafts in, and you're fitting your writing in where you can (like me!). Anita, you're all over the eight hour a day run, with tea and snacks. Brandon, you sound like me, you prefer to just go to town writing for eight hours or more at a time.

What a diverse set of styles we all have! I love it. Take that Mr. Archer.