Friday, November 12, 2010

11 Tips from Kevin J. Anderson

Kevin J. Anderson is best-selling author who has published over 100 novels.  He participated in a conference call with the members people who belong to a writing site, and gave a list of techniques he's compiled to increase writing productivity.  I wasn't able to listen to the conference call in real time, but I listened to a podcast later and this is the information he gave. 

1-Shut up and write.  If you have a job you have to do it whether you like it or not.  You do it.  Your job, your career, you actually have to do the work.  Make time and schedule it and don’t be interrupted.
2-Defy the empty page.  If you’re stuck, just move on.
3-Dare to be bad at first.  Just because it’s bad doesn’t mean it has to stay bad.. Crash through and write.  Tell the story and don’t worry about fixing it.  You have time.
4-Work on different projects at the same time.  Different stages.  Research for background.  Outlining, character development, chapters.  First Draft.  Editing.  Proofreading.  Promotion.  When you get tired of stuff, move on to something else.  Never get writer’s block, go do something else with another project to use every minute by switching channels.
5-Know the difference between writing and editing.  Writing is creating, envisioning, describing the battle or adventure. Telling the story.  Editing is analytical.   Studying the structure and the words.  Look up your little details.  When you’re writing and charging straight through, turn off the editor.  Look it up later.   Don’t lose momentum.  Cruise right along at full speed and get your draft down.
6-Use every minute.  When you get time to write, figure out how to use every minute you have.  Ten minutes, an hour, a day.  You don’t need large blocks of time.  Teach yourself how to write in half hour blocks.  2-3 sentences at one time, is 2-3 sentences you don’t have to write later.  John Grisham—full time attorney, busy and wanted to write.  1 page a day.  In a year he would have  a novel.  Use every minute that you’ve got and dive into it.  Use ten minutes, twenty minutes.
7-Set goals for yourself and stick to them.  Set realistic goals that are challenging. 
8-Create the best writing environment for yourself.  Try to pay attention to what happens when you’re the most productive?  What happens to make you that way?  What time of day are you best at it?  Do you need sound?  Music?  Silence?  Some people like a coffee shop.  Some people like silence and isolation.  Look at your office set-up.  Is it comfortable and good for your head, arms, and neck?  What works for you?
9-Think outside the keyboard.  As a writer your job is not moving your hands on the keys, it is to capture things from your imagination.  Pen & paper.  Longhand works better for some people.  Some people like to be outside in a park or a coffee shop.  Some people dictate.  Hiking in mountains or on a trail, dictate 20 pages… Inspired by that around you. 
10-Get inspired.  Write what you know.  The more you know, the more you can write.  To improve writing and writing productivity, learn more.  Learn dancing, take classes, woodworking, take trips.  Everything adds to what you can converse about and write about. 
11-Know when to stop.  When it’s done, it’s done.  Finish it and send it out someplace.  There is a point of diminishing returns.  After 4-5 edits, it’s as good as it’s going to get.  Send it out.