No plot, no problem

well I’m still writing.

That’s a pleasant surprise. Cause I thought I’d have given up by now. I’m not writing one thing however, but everything, and I’m still enjoying sitting in cafés on saturdays and the odd weekdays with a biro and paper. I would like to say I’m writing consistently, but I’m not. I’d been writing one story for a while, and now I’ve jumped to something completely different. I’m reading less. That isn’t surprising.

I knew that writing was just an outlet for ‘production’ of a physical kind. I don’t believe I am a writer… firstly I’m not interested enough in it… but maybe I could be, if I focus hard enough.

Today I found myself in Waterstones like usual, browsing the fiction section and like normal finding bugger all to read. I then wandered into the creative writing area, as I knew I wanted to read, to inspire writing, but I don’t want to read other peoples efforts, I want to read about my efforts (even if I haven’t started anything yet!). I found a great little book called, ‘No plot, no problem’, and its a guide to writing your first novel. There are many books out there that do that, but this one was a bit different because it focuses on quantity not quality, 50,000 word quantity to be exact. It talks of focusing on a deadline and committing yourself to writing a little over 1600 words a day for 31 days and having a novel at the end of it. I’m only a few pages in and I’m really liking what I’m reading. The focus of quantity over quality removes the worry about producing ‘greatness’ first time round, infact it almost guarantees your efforts won’t be great, but it works on something more important, and thats completion… getting the word count out, letting the imagination run wild, and getting the damn thing done and dusted. Every writer will tell you the starting is easy, its the finishing that is the difficult bit… and so, this book, inspires you purely to do just that.

Its got me thinking… and I like what I’m thinking. I’m on the train tomorrow to London whereby I can read the book a little more and I have a night in hotel too. The new surroundings and new thoughts will be sure to getting the fingers typing I’m certain.

I’ll keep you posted. Is there anyone else out there that’s feeling the urge to write their first novel, but haven’t yet? I need to converse with similar minds… together we can do it!!


  1. I’ve actually been working on two novels for about four or five years. I think that writing quickly is a good idea. For me what has helped is to write about what is interesting to me at the moment, and try to graft a plot on it after the fact. I try to have a character think about what I want to think about, do something that interests me. I try to turn a fantasy into an actual story unfolding, and explore the fantasy that way. I try to have characters talk about things that I want to think about, and look for opportunities to steer the plot in a direction that allows me to keep the stuff I’ve written. I’ve certainly written a lot this way, and it keeps writing interesting, but I can’t say I’ve published a novel and that this method is fool-proof. But it’s helped me get words down that can be worked on and cut if need be. I also have characters mull over possible steps they could take, or what other characters might do, as a means of plotting while writing.

  2. wow, 4 or 5 yrs?? Do you think that ‘effort’ should be equal to, or greater than ‘reward’? Is the desire to get these written primarily a personal achievement or do you desperately want to be a published writer?

    I ask because, either you’re producing a (or 2) masterpiece(s) or you’re labouring over something that clearly isn’t stimulating enough to finish. Personally I dread the situation you’re going through atm, I fear having enough of a writing skill and a decent plot to produce a book, but to never actually get round to completing it.

    I admire your patience and persistence, I also hope that you get round to finishing it one day 😀

  3. Hi Mark,

    I definitely think the reward should compensate for the effort. I’d like to get published, but the experience of writing and finishing novels feels useful even if I can’t get these particular novels published. It feels like the process is getting easier, so I can presumably do more of the process in the future.

    I used to hate editing and now I enjoy aspects of it and can do a lot more of it than I used to. One thing I started doing was doing minor corrections while watching (more like listening to) interesting documentaries on youtube. I was amazed at how much progress I made just by doing this.

    I used to have a plowing mentality–just keep going and grit your teeth, and now I try to figure out clever ways of having fun with the work while I’m also being productive in completing it. If writing is fun day in and day out you’ll do more of it I think. And for the stuff that isn’t fun, I try to find the easiest way of doing it–like editing what is most interesting to me in the moment, and jumping to something else when it gets boring, and progressing in a piecemeal way. The novels do continue to advance at a rate that will allow them to be done in a reaonsable time.

    I guess my main thought is maybe there are some ways to make your experience writing fun and productive at the same time, or at least easier, and if you are looking for opportunities to have fun and be productive simultaneously, or at least find easier ways of doing things, you will find some tricks and the process will continue getting easier and more enjoyable. The goal is to be feeling pretty good about the effort day in and day out, keeping your morale up.


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