I have plenty of ideas. In fact I have notebooks full of them. Bits of conversation, descriptions of places I’ve visited, titles, names, or incomplete jotted paragraphs. Some will be developed into fully formed stories, other will never see the light of day.
All of them inform my writing.
But an idea is not a story. It needs developing, massaging and cajoling. Sometimes an idea needs a violent collision with another idea. And it often takes time.
Sometimes it happens quickly, sometimes it can take months before a story starts to congeal into existence. As I walk my dogs, mow the lawn, or supervise students in exams, I find these ideas invade my thoughts. And I play with them, work with them, evolve them into stories.
But they’re still not written. And they’re not really stories until they’re words on the screen and saved as a completed file.
2014 was a year of change for me. As a writer, I was nowhere near as productive as I would have liked. It frustrated me. I tried different approaches to increase my writing output, but life tended to get in the way. And excuses. Lots of excuses. So I sat down and made a list of all the reasons I wasn’t writing enough, and created a plan.
A ritual, if you like. Or, as Lee puts it, a fetish.
I bought an old computer, dedicated solely to writing. It has no internet access, no games, no other software. I created a comfortable writing space away from the main part of the house. There are no distracting sounds, no TVs, no fridges calling me. I made a spreadsheet to keep track of daily word counts, as well as monthly and yearly totals and averages.
And I write every day.
Tired? Busy? Got home late? Don’t feel like it? Doesn’t matter. I write, and I write every day. Some good words, some average. But words. Every single day. Six months and counting, now. Not one blank cell on my spreadsheet.
Regular, accountable writing in a dedicated, comfortable space. No excuses.
I’m Steve. I’m a writer. And this is my fetish.
Steve Cameron is a Scottish/Australian writer who currently resides in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. When not writing, he teaches English at a local secondary college. Steve maintains a website at www.stevecameron.com.au
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