Nine Day Novel: Writing Faster: 10K a Day, How to Write a Novel in 9 Days, Structuring Your Novel For Speed by Steve Windsor.
I have read this book twice as an ebook and although at first I thought I just skip it for the rest of my life, somehow, having two hours while waiting my niece to finish her ballet practice, I found myself reading it once again.
This book is one of those, where you are happy that you’ve read it, but… It didn’t give me that much per say, but it was nice in a way that it is like a short reminding list of all the stuff you learn from elsewhere.
To start with, this book gives you a quick list of things that you ought to do before you start writing and for that – thank you. It’s not “jump in the water and start swimming”, it’s more like “don’t do it in unknown environment”. For you really need to have more extensive background knowledge to actually use the method as it is.
However, if you already know how to understand the basics for writing (like, who plays what role and what dramatic situations are about and such), it wasn’t that bad. Well, to be honest, I think I will try it out one day, just for the kicks of it, because what he says there is true.
That said, oh boy, the introductory part about excuses… Oh boy…
That made me remember why I put that book down in the first place. The attitude! Although all this talk how we ought to cut back some TV time and sleep less is something I agree with, for I know what he means there, the rest of it sort of was like a slap in the face of anyone, whose life philosophy is to actually spend some time with their family and perhaps not push the entire household duties on their spouses while they “work”.
I don’t know how else to describe this, for it made it look like having household duties is excuses that one ought to ignore in order to write. Is that really so? So, if you are busy with fulfilling your life as a writer, your house overflows with dirt and your animals are hungry, because you can’t be bothered? Just few sentences later he comes out with tons of things he did while writing in what I can only perceive was supposed to show how the duties are not excuses, when he states that “I wrote this book during my daughters Christmas holiday and…” and then there is load of stuff he did while writing. Was that supposed to show how you didn’t fall in excuses while you worked on your book? How does that make you special?
As if when you take up the task of becoming a writer, you should be seen as bad at it when you do something else as well. That chapter didn’t make me feel guilty for those “procrastinating” activities – it made me angry, for I really felt that this here is another guy, who pushes his duties to others while writing and demands to be supported while he is building his career. As if the obligations disappear on their own just because you decide you don’t want to deal with them.
Even if you are a writer, to toss something like that out there, making anybody, who can’t put all their free time under writing feel guilty for having other obligations as well.. I know how much reading stuff like that can make you desperate, frustrated and jealous of the “real” writers, who can live on their writing.
As if anybody has “free” time! After nearly 10 years working daily on my own writing, I can honestly say I have no such guilt over “not having enough time”, for the reality is – they don’t have that time either. They too are swamped with cleaning duties, cooking, doing laundry, shopping, gardening, work, extra curriculum, children, pets, hobbies – and having that, giving time to that sort of side work is absolutely NORMAL! But reading that chapter made me seriously want to slap Mr. Windsor for trying to show writer as something socially inapt creature that needs to be pampered, who has excuses on anything besides his own ego and who can’t handle their own personal affairs.
It’s not about “where you can find that FREE time”, it’s “where can I TAKE that time from so the rest of my life doesn’t suffer”. And what he lists there as time stealer were nothing more than housework every grownup self respecting human being does. If you keep doing them daily, they don’t really pile up you know. The rest is pretty much what you can skip if you want, but I’m sorry that completely put me off.
If you didn’t have your family on your side, would you still say that? Would they still be your time stealer, or perhaps 2 hours spent on your household daily won’t really be that bad decision if that gives you warm food in your belly, warm and clean house to work in and organized environment where your mind doesn’t have to half-work on mentally hiding from reality, but can actually concentrate fully on your writing.
Yeah, I might not have my own book out yet, but even if I did, the fact that I am fully employed, have a huge house, needy pets and still manage to find time for writing and reading and all the other activities – I don’t really care if it takes me longer time to bring my work to the public. Some sacrifice for it, but isn’t sacrificing really a shortcut? And if you take that shortcut, sometimes you also lose things that are vital for you.
So yeah, the suggestions for writers are good and the method is worth a test, but the personal part of the book was bit over the top. Writing is important, but like with every other occupation in this world – household duties are not the evil side of life. You can always go and live in hotels if you so want, but until you are still living with other people, taking them in consideration and doing your part to lessen the burden should be a norm. They have things they want to do too and nobody is that important to deny them what they want to do by pushing their duties on somebody else.