In the Zone, but Starting Writing Is the Problem

The A to Z Challenge has been a wonderful thing. In fact, I’ve gotten more writing done with this than I did with NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo. Actually, in the three Nanos and two Camp Nanos, I wrote less in all of those combined than I have in the A to Z Challenge.  I’d say it’s been a huge success, and it’s not finished.

You see, I’ve been able to write between 250 and 500 words in only fifteen minutes.  My latest ones have been over 400 words and take me a mere fifteen minutes to write. If I wrote for an hour, I could easily surpass the NaNoWriMo daily targets.

I’ve been finding that once I start writing, I just keep going and going without a pause.  I get in the zone.  The dialogue flows easily it appears. Maybe that’s my strong suit. It looks like I’ll have to write as much as I can of dialogue and whatever I can of narrative, then go back to edit more action in.

My big problem is getting started.  Before I start writing each part of the challenge, I sit there for fifteen or thirty minutes trying to just get the first word out.  I know what I want to write, but the procrastinator in me won’t let me start. But once I do, I have no problems finishing it.  I just need to get around that delayed start.


Authors Answer 25 – One Hit Wonder or Prolific Author?

Harper Lee had a huge hit, To Kill a Mockingbird. It was the only book she published (thought recently, she announced a new book). But it was massively popular. Then there are other authors who seem to write a couple books a year. Many write without much recognition, but they keep going. This week’s question comes to us from the rather prolific commenter stomperdad.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 25: Would you rather write one book that’s hugely popular or many books with little recognition?

Linda G. Hill

Oooh, difficult question. Although I’d love to have a book that’s hugely popular, I love the writing part of making novels. So I think I’ll have to go with the latter.

…ask me again after I’ve published something. 😛

Caren Rich

Seriously, I just want to be published.  Writing a popular book would be amazing.  I don’t think it’s necessarily better than having a string of well-written books, that people have actually read. There is an allure to cult classics that bestsellers do not have.

D. T. Nova

It’s difficult for me to compare those as conflicting outcomes. I know that if a book I wrote became hugely popular it would just make me want to write more books even more, and it might even make it easier to be unconcerned with recognition in the future.

Amy Morris-Jones

I think I’d rather just write and not worry about popularity or publication—not great for a writer, right? I’d rather write a lot, so I’d pick the second option where I could build a small but (hopefully) loyal fan base over time. Those hugely popular books get far too much public scrutiny for my taste.

Jean Davis

I would rather write many books than one that hits it big. The pressure to top that huge success would make it hard to let the creativity flow enough to let the next books come into being and make it through the editing process.

Elizabeth Rhodes

I’d prefer to write several books with little recognition.  What would I do with my time after the first bestseller makes it big?  I’m not going to stop writing after that.  I’m also not sure if I’d ever feel comfortable with a Harper Lee level of fame.

H. Anthe Davis

I’m in the process of writing many books with little recognition, so I guess this is what I signed on for!  Yay me!

In all honesty though, I don’t care about popularity.  I just want to get these stories out of my head.

Paul B. Spence

Oh, bloody hell. I’ve already written many books with little recognition… But how could you only write one book?

Tracey Lynn Tobin

Tough one. I definitely would love for one of my books to become hugely popular, but if that meant no one would ever read anything else I ever wrote? It seems like quite the trade-off. Also, realistically speaking, it’s much more likely for a writer to build a little bit of recognition with each concurrent book than to become an overnight sensation based on just one book.

I think, probably, maybe, I’d go with the many books, because even if that one book was hugely popular, I think it would kill me if I just kept writing and writing and never got any recognition for any of my other work.

S. R. Carrillo

Popularity is really not all that important to me. I’d definitely rather write several of the little-recognized books. Seems I’m headed in that direction, anyway, and I’m all too okay with it. ;] Actually, I think I’d panic if I ever wrote a hugely popular book. I’m only ever truly writing for myself in the first place – publishing is merely a way of inviting others on this crazy ride with me, y’know?

Jay Dee Archer

I think it’s safe to say that most, if not all, of us would answer the same way: we’d rather have many books with little recognition. We spend a lot of time writing, not for the recognition, but because we have stories we want to tell.  It is extremely rare  to have that big hit, and I think we all understand that. I would rather have plenty of books out than one big hit. Besides, I’d continue writing even if I had just one big hit. I couldn’t stop.

With that said, recognition does build over time the more one writes. Each book gains some fans, which in turn results in more sales for all books. They may never be big sellers, but people are reading them. That’s all I want.

How about you?

If you had this choice, would you rather have a single bestseller or a bunch of books that gain little recognition? Leave your answers in the comments below.

The Urban Planner

We’re getting closer to the end of the A to Z Challenge. Now it’s the letter U, and after this, it just gets more difficult to find jobs. Can you imagine what I’ll do for X and Z? V is ready to go, and quite appropriate. Enjoy the U story!

The Urban Planner


New Athens

Fourteenth day, eleventh month, seventh year after colonisation, Ariadne Era (11/14/07 AE)

Paolo Fernandes peered down at the map on his desk. He nodded his head. “I like this. It looks good. Very efficient, too.”

Breaking into a smile, Tabitha Pierce said, “Thank you. This is only the beginning. New Brasilia has the potential to be a great city.”

“I think I may retire there,” said Paolo. “Brasilia on Earth was a planned city. But I love how you’ve incorporated the forest into the city.”

“Lowest impact possible, you said.”

“Indeed I did.”

“Although there are only one and a half thousand people living there now, it’s quite vibrant. But with the arrival of the second ship, there should be a huge influx of people. We need to be ready to house another twenty-five thousand people.”

“Well, yes,” said Paolo. He hesitated. “Of course, they won’t all go to New Brasilia.”

Something was wrong, Tabitha was sure of it. Paolo was apprehensive. “Has something happened?”

“No, nothing,” he said. He opened his mouth to say something extra, but shook his head instead.

“Where are the other colonists?” asked Tabitha. No need to dance around the issue. “They were supposed to be here four years ago.”

“I don’t want this government to be full of secrets. I don’t want people to worry needlessly, either,” he said, looking at the map. His eyes met Tabitha’s, showing an intensity she’d never seen before. “No secrets. The truth is that we haven’t heard anything from the other colonists. When we left Mars, there was a threat from the Earth government. We left early to escape them.”

Everything connected in her mind. “I understand now,” she said. “That’s why everyone was so tense. Everyone at the top knew?”

“Yes. We didn’t want anything to go wrong with the launch. And there was information about someone infiltrating the project. We couldn’t let on that we knew. We had to proceed as if everything was fine.”

“Will they arrive?”

Paolo shook his head. “Unlikely. I don’t know. They might. Or we may never hear from them again.”

“Has there been any communication?”

“We send messages regularly, but we haven’t received anything. It’s not encouraging. This leads me to believe that the Earth government has taken over Mars. And this was decades ago now.”

“What should we do?”

“Carry on. Keep planning for their arrival. I won’t have hopelessness on my watch.”

“Understood. I’ll do my best,” said Tabitha.