Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: writing habits

On The Path Toward . . .


In my last post, I said my next step on the path toward my next book was to read my last book.

On The Path Toward A Book

Image Courtesy of Matthew Pickard ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/smats

Well, true; but…

There’re parts of my last book that live on this blog—little moonlets of the book

Since the next book is in the same universe and time-span, I must take account of those extra scenes I wrote that weren’t in the last-book-proper.

This is a bit of a challenge (but, what writer worth their salt doesn’t like a challenge) and I’m marveling, again, at how much space a novel can have; even if much of that space isn’t in the book

I wrote a post last November that may be of interest—What Are Your Writing Habits?

Also, while I’m off doing this thing called writing (i.e., not posting as much here), do feel free to use the search box in the upper right or the Top Tags widget down a ways in the left side-bar to find other posts of interest………

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How To Break Writing Habits Even If You’re Not A Writer


We all tell stories. Some of us write them down. But I feel we all write our lives for others to read. Even if you can honestly say you’re not and have never been and will never be a writer, I want to contend, for the length of this post, that you do “Write”.

Writing is usually thought of as putting words on paper or screen but the word “write” came from roots that meant “carve, scratch, and cut“.

In a previous post titled, Really, No *Really*, What The Heck Is Writing?, I took those meanings of writing (plus, “paint”) and wrote this:

“Pardon me while a let the poetic side of my personality take control for a minute:

“Authors can sometimes be said to carve a place for themselves in our culture.

“There are also many writers barely scratching out a living.

“Many wish they could cut a swath of recognition through the crowd of other writers.

“And, our favorite writers are those who paint images in our minds with their words.”

When I wrote that, I was having a little fun with words but, if you substitute “people” for “writers”/”authors” in those sentences, they do make sense.

OK, I admit, that in no way makes every person a writer; but, what is the carving, scratching, and cutting that writers do and can those activities be seen in anyone’s life?

It seems fairly obvious to me that those root meanings for “write” come from the time in human history before pen and ink, when writing was not something that could be easily thrown away after being read or swiftly deleted with a keystroke. Our ancestor-writers wrote for keeps; they wrote to have their words clearly remembered; they cut and scratched and carved important ideas, even if they were “only” the tallies of goods flowing through a port.

So I’m proposing you consider the actions you perform to make an impression or influence someone or make an idea count as ways you Write your life for others to Read.

And, just as the commonly-accepted writer must edit what they write before they present it for reading, the actions we take to carve, scratch, and cut important feelings and thoughts into our social fabric should be as well-conceived as we can make them before we expect others to Read us right

So, I suppose I’d better address that habit breaking I have in the title if my little cut/scratch/carve effort pays what it promised.

I have only one method I can offer that’s worked for me:

  • Don’t try to stop yourself from doing what you want to stop yourself from doing.
  • Do more of what you want yourself to do.

Spending your energy on doing the new thing may seem ineffective at first (while you’re still also doing what you don’t want to do) but, over time, the new Do can replace the old Don’t with less stress and strain on your mental hygiene.

I can’t reckon the time I’ve wasted in my life trying valiantly to ram my head into the brick walls of my bad habits.

I’m still surprised I still have a brain that can function.

Oh!!  I shouldn’t fail in offering a maxim I’ve learned about habit-breaking:

Avoid taking advice from folks who act like they’re perfect.

I still have bad habits and I’m still persistently and Gently trying to Do what I wish I would do.

I am making progress
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Writing Styles, Work Patterns, & Lack of Guilt


First, a few “definitions”:

Writing Styles = the various methods employed to get the words on the page and properly ordered; including but not limited to meticulous outlining, character charts and maps, location dossiers, stacks of various sizes of paper notes (or more loosely scattered groupings), moderately expensive notebooks, computer files in various formats, sophisticated computer programs, and working-it-all-out-in-the-mind-then-letting-it-spill-out-like-blood.

Work Patterns = the various and sundry patterns of behavior that different writers use to accomplish their writing goals; including but not limited to word-counts/unit time, something written every day, whenever the mood is right, and whenever-I-damn-well-please-thank-you-very-much.

Lack of Guilt = absence of indictability, pauperization of impeachability, and shortage of self-reproof.

Now the Game :-)

1. Choose the Writing Style and Work Pattern that matches your own (if you’re not a writer you may find benefit in pretending you are. Many writers are good at pretending.)

2. If your Writing Style and Work Pattern are not in the definitions please consider letting us know what they are in this post’s comments.

3. Use any old method of analysis you have handy to assess how well you achieve Lack of Guilt by applying your Writing Style and Work Pattern to the Goal of Producing Written Works–including but not limited to any-genre (or, non-genre)-you-can-imagine

This Exercise Was Brought To You By
The Writing Bloggers Who Wake Up And Decide They’ve Been A Bit Too Serious Lately Association

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