This year sees the release of my 12th and 13th novels, one of them being Barbarossa's Bitch. Not bad for eight years of work. There are over seventy short stories with my name on them as well.
So, I get people asking, "How do you do it?" I am approached by aspiring writers at conventions ALL the time. They all have great ideas. And they want to know how I went from having an idea to being a published author.
I tell them that I follow the advice of great writers.
"Write a story every day. Write it. Finish it." ~Ray BradburyHmm. As much as I love Bradbury, I can't do it. That's more words than I can manage.
"Write 2000 words every day. Some days I am done and bout my errands by 10 AM. Some days, I am still at 1500 as Tabitha is calling me for supper." ~Stephen King2000 is tough. That's more than NaNoWriMo, every month! But I've been giving it a try this year. I don't always manage it.
"Write. Put one word after another. Find the right word and put it down. Finish what you're writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it!" ~Neil GaimanThat sounds doable.
"You can do anything for fifteen minutes." ~FlyladyYou really can. I have written a fair few pieces 15 minutes at a time. I find the Dr. Wicked Write or Die site is brilliant for keeping me on task for those fifteen minutes. (It will erase your words if you pause for more than 10 seconds.) In fifteen minutes, I can write approximately 600 words. I am a slow typist. That's about a page and a half.
Victor Milan (author of about 50 novels), says "Commit to five words. Even if you can't face fifteen minutes or 2000 words, write five."
It works for some people. And on the days when I really can't face mortal combat with the keyboard, that is what I do. I usually end up with about forty, but I promise myself five.
But all this good advice boils down to one word: WRITE!
Don't dream it; be it. Don't just tell and retell your story in your head and with your mouth. Write it on paper.
Pardon me for one more quote, this one from Amadeus. When approached about the fact he hasn't written the promised piece, and rehersals start next week, he tells the theater owner that it's all in his head, the rest is just scribbling. "Write it down! It does no one any good in your head!" is the response. And that is my answer to the aspiring. :)
I write almost every day. There are times I am away from home, and can't write. Conventions, in particular, are not conducive to writing time. But when I am home, I eke out my writing time. And most of all, I listen to Neil: FINISH IT!
The secret to being prolific is not inspiration. It is not talent. It is dedication to the story you are telling.
Some stories feel like pulling teeth. There were times--during edits, especially--when this book, Barbarossa's Bitch, got the better of me and I stared at it for a day and wrote nothing. Having glared it into submission, I could then continue.
Some books take longer than others. Naomi and I started this piece about three years ago. We'd poke at it, let it alone, poke it again. And last spring, I said "Let's finish this." She said, "Sure," and we did.
Those three words "and we did" encompass hours on AIM, more hours bashing a keyboard, too many hours typing in one window with "Sons of Anarchy" running in a second (we both have fantastic Chibs crushes) and AIM in a third. And far too many repetitions of the playlist.
But we wrote. We put one word after another. We finished it.
I think the only difference between an aspiring writer and a prolific writer is sitting at the keyboard and typing.
Barbarossa's Bitch is currently available from Storm Moon Press in ebook format for $5.99.
Angelia Sparrow's work can be found at http://www.brooksandsparrow.com. She can also be found on LiveJournal (valarltd), Facebook (Author Angelia Sparrow), Google+ (Angelia Sparrow), Fetlife (valarltd), Twitter (@asparrow16), and Blogger.
This post is part of the blog tour for Angelia Sparrow & Naomi Brooks' new book Barbarossa's Bitch. To celebrate this new release, they're holding a huge giveaway! You can enter by commenting with your e-mail address on this post or any other on their blog tour throughout this week. Commenting on multiple blogs means multiple entries, so follow along and keep commenting! Entries are open until Midnight EST on Saturday, March 2nd, 2013. There will be three winners. The Grand Prize is Angelia Sparrow's entire backlist (that's 12 novels and over 70 short stories). First runner up will get an ebook copy of Barbarossa's Bitch along with a $10 gift certificate to Angelia's Etsy shop, and the second runner up will get the ebook alone. Amazing prizes are a great way to sweeten the dark themes of this post-apocalyptic gay novel! Thanks for joining us on the blog tour and remember to comment to enter the giveaway!