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Things I Learned in November


  • It is possible to write 50,000 words in 30 days and create a (somewhat convoluted) story with a beginning, middle, and end.

  • Some of those words might actually be salvageable. But I won’t know till I give it a proper read, and that’s not gonna happen till after Christmas.

  • I can finish something I begin, within a designated timeframe, and not have it be for someone else.

  • When you shove a ball gag into your inner critics’ mouth, shove him in a body bag and toss him into the Anne Frank room, amazing things can happen.

  • Starting over where you left off is only slightly easier than starting on a blank page.

  • When you stop thinking about what you’re going to write and just write it, interesting (and sometimes amusing) things end up on the page.

  • Picking up where you left off two days ago is much harder than picking up from yesterday.

  • You can get 100 words written in a notebook within 5 tube stops. You might not remember what you scribbled, but it adds towards your final word count.

  • I type much faster than I write, and counting handwritten words is boring.

  • I end up with very dialogue-heavy scenes, which makes me wonder if I should try my hand at playwriting.

  • When in doubt, introduce a journalist character who wants to interview existing characters about their hopes, dreams and desires.

  • I finish bigger chunks of writing in coffee shops and pubs than I do at my kitchen table or upstairs in the always-too-cluttered “writer’s loft*”.

  • It’s easier to watch CSI reruns than write fiction.

  • I have a new story idea that’s been swimming around while I’ve been writing the nano novel. The folks in my writing workshop think it’s a really good idea and I’m starting to flesh it out it this Monday.

* You might remember that as the “job search oasis.”