The Writer's Desk

Writing, publishing & marketing notes from Jamie DeBree & her alter egos

An Assignment

Sometimes, you just have to wait for things to get back to normal before you can move forward. With the adoption of another dog last Thursday, things are feeling much more normal for me – two dogs + two humans makes it a complete “pack” again, even with the “new dog issues” we’ll be sorting through for awhile. And with the return of normalcy, I find myself gravitating back to writing again. Slowly but surely.

As I said last week, part of my problem is a lack of deadlines due to not serializing stories any longer. I’m going to stick with that decision, but I *am* going to start a blog series about my dogs (which seems fitting, since I’ve been fixating on dog stuff for the majority of this year so far), written from the dogs’ point of view (creative non-fiction?). These posts will be due every Friday, so it will be both deadline-driven, and written in voices I create for my dear pups, much like writing from the point of view of a character. I don’t generally write fiction in first person (because I just don’t like it for either reading or writing – personal preference), but this will be a good exercise for me, in terms of discipline, viewpoint and creativity. I think I need that to sort of prime the fiction pump again, so to speak.

The blog series will be called Gone to the Dogs with Murphy & Mica, and will start this Friday – April 1st (no joke!). I’ll be posting it on my main blog, The Variety Pages, for those interested in following along.

I’m also setting a word count goal & deadline for “any other fiction” that is insanely easy to meet (and if I don’t meet it, seriously, I should just turn in my writer-card and go home). It has no other purpose than just to get me to *start* working on one of my drafts again – any draft I can hook into with this (I have two waiting at the moment). The idea, of course, is to start and then keep going, but this is a daily minimum, required to be completed before 11:45pm every night.

Ready? This is my ridiculously easy jump-start writing plan:

Write one sentence for each open draft before 11:45pm every day this week.

That’s it. That’s all I’m requiring of myself for this week. Just one sentence each for two drafts at some point before it’s time to get ready for bed. Length doesn’t matter, but content does, of course – the sentences have to work with what comes before, and also move that particular section of prose forward in some way. Which isn’t unreasonable, I don’t think.

The thing is, once you write one sentence, it’s easier to write another. Once you write two, it’s normally pretty easy to keep going. But most days, that first sentence is the hardest one to write. So that’s what I’m focusing on this week.

I thought about making consequences or rewards for if I fail or succeed, but…I’m doing this because I want to write, so the rewards/punishments are inherent. Writing is a reward for me – I’m really not one of those people who wants to “have written” – I enjoy the actual first draft/discovery process more than any other part of writing…when I’m in the habit. Not writing makes me twitchy, and that’s as it should be for someone who loves to write.

And yes, I did write Monday’s sentences. One day down!

As for this week’s excerpt, here’s a bit from where I left off in Donteneoux’s (pronounced: don-ten-no) Dragon:

“Son, you were born with one purpose, and that was to get our lands back. You tried to do it their way, follow their rules. Now it’s time to find another way. I’m sure you can manage that before this old woman takes her last breath.”

He stared at her for a long moment, one eyebrow quirked up at her command. “And if I can’t?”

“Then I’ll haunt you for the rest of your life, alongside your other ancestors.” Taking the pan off the stove, she slammed it down on the table, the pan’s contents popping high above its surface. “Eat, and then leave. Don’t come back until you’ve secured what’s ours.”

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