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How To Use Your Time Better
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If I had to choose between time and money, I'd choose space.
Money wouldn't enter into it.
I yearn for time and space and since they appear to cover most of the immediately and unarguably available dimensions in which we live, I consider this common sense. Otherwise, one might as well hanker over kippers, or cutlery or cupcakes, since everything besides times and space is counting and we were made for a more divine mathematics. (Cupidity is not a vice writers or artists indulge.)
Let's deal with lifestyle first, then we'll come to literature (and science) in next week's Sunday blog.
Are you busy?
As in you have a great deal to do and don't have enough time?
Right-o. Yup. I haven't yet met anyone who isn't, have you?
You have the same amount of time as everyone on a day to day basis. You have twenty-four hours. You can argue that they are not yours to use as you lie, but that's not entirely true. You can always walk out of your life and it's the fantasy subject of many a good book and the practice of many a holy man or woman too.
When you say you are busy what you mean is this is not important enough to make it onto the 1... 24 of the hours I have available. So next time he or she doesn't call you because they were busy you will know you did not make it into their top 24 things to do that day or the next.
It would be very cool if you had the guts to say 'this is not important to me' rather than that you are too busy since you and those around set the fruitless expectation that one day you may be less busy. You won't.
'Whatever you're meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.'
The Seven Deadly Sins of Writers
Of the Seven Deadly Sins of Writers, 'busy-ness' is the first on TheNovelry hit list.
- Busy~ness (the spurious claim one has insufficient time, when writing a novel needs 1/24 of a day.)
- Envy (comparing work and lifestyle to others who simply worked harder and considering them magically 'gifted'.)
- Revenge (writing to avenge oneself for small personal reasons including a political and social agenda taints the reader's cup of tea.)
- Over-confidence (having one idea and considering it brilliant without working it or turning it on the lathe of readership or what people need and want - ie does it give hope?)
- Talk (the spoken word is the rash relative of the written word, always best not to talk about your book until you have completed a first draft. Talk about writing and how to do it by all means but don't spill your beans or you will notice they don't look right and others will say things you wish they had not, since speech unlike writing, tends to be a two-way thing.)
- Addictions (while you're writing your book nothing besides your first duty of care to humans who depend on you should usurp its place in your heart. So if you have a problem, it will remain a problem until you fix it. Maybe fiction can fix it, once and for all.)
- Fear (fear is normal and fine where it's an adrenaline boost, but boring if you spend too much time in its company. See #2.)
A propensity to vulgarity is praiseworthy. A criminal mindset is to be commended. Thoughts of murder take your work further. Anger is fine and dandy. Daylight robbery is rather handy - when composing characters for your book.
The Novelry is pleased to announce the launch of a competition open to all members of The Novelry. Do feel free to join us and enter it if you are not presently a member. The prize is a £149 voucher for use at TheNovelry.
While writing The Classic Course these last few months I have begun to reconsider my thinking of time and space for the writing of my books. I am starting to consider how little time and space I have in my work to say what to show what I want to show. I'm thinking now about what I must leave out and ordering things in importance. (Just like you do with your 24 hours in a day. N.B. If it doesn't add anything, it subtracts.) If you can get your mindset and lifestyle straight, the work will follow.
It's the mindset of the person with the house on fire. I now know, and will show in the course which starts soon, what things you MUST have in the book. I will show you too the ordering of them for success based on the evidence of the bestselling classics (CS Lewis, Tolkien, JM Barrie, JK Rowling.)
I have analysed the opening chapters of those works and will show you the divine maths of them inside the course. I will show you too the geography - the space covered, how we proceed from one little spatial box to another, and onwards into other dimensions and how to pace it.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the opening lines of a novel must grasp a reader by the throat and thereafter proceed as one might along the ledge of the roof of a house on fire.
In the children's classics, the openings are cosy. We are sat on mother's lap still being read to and assured that this is a safe place, before we go on the fictional adventure. Think fire with marshmallows toasting over it.
What every commercially viable work of fiction must have in common in the Age of Impatience is the relationship between space - the first page - and time - pace which delivers action. You can't hang about, now more than ever before.
You will have a one-line sentence (hook) for your book, a tight concept, and you should deliver on its promise from the off.
To encourage my writers and to find out what works with the most scrupulous readers - writers - I am launching an annual competition at The Novelry 'The Firestarter.'
Writers submit the first 900 words of their work to our Live Lodge with the subject heading 'FIRESTARTER'.
All members have one vote and submit them to TheNovelry for counting. It will be a first past the post system.
The deadline and closing date for submissions and posting of entries is Thursday 1st March at midnight.
All TheNovelry subscribed members will be asked to vote by email on Friday 2nd March. All votes cast will remain confidential.
The winner will be announced in the Sunday blog on Sunday 4th March 2018.
It's going to have some very enlightening and instructive benefits for all of us who are sometimes too busy to get things straight from the start ;-)
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