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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/i-dont-believe-that-youll-find-that-here-30006686.aspx

Subject:  Re: Writing daily and Thinking Deeper Date:  4/28/2012  3:36 PM
Author:  bearwhizbeer Number:  4826 of 4870

I don't believe that you'll find that here; regular feedback of value.
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While I am with notablelaggard on this, I will suggest that the operative word here is "regular". Oh, and "value".

To wit: you will get feedback from time to time (like now). It's value is subjective, however.

For the writing I do (novels), I always have three files open: the draft I just finished, the draft I am working on, and my file of "Thoughts". This last file is in outline view, with ideas pretty much confined to what the header says. FYI, the thoughts file for my current project is 120 pages, spanning two years. It is the wall upon which things are thrown, and is never edited. In fact, even if the "thoughts" file were itself the goal, I don't believe I would actually edited it. Instead, I would write it into its own project.

To this end, the thoughts file is the sketch of the project. One can spend one's time editing the sketch, erase a line, add a line, and in fact spend decades working on the sketch, and never finish the project.

I am a firm believer in a "word count" approach to writing for several reasons. First and foremost, it forces production. Writing is the physical act of putting words into relevant, coherent ideas. It has a purpose, however amorphous the purpose might be. A word count is a quantitative measure of progress toward that purpose. One can sit at the terminal for an hour and think about thoughts, and tell oneself that one has done some writing, but one is deluding oneself. At the beginning of each draft, I keep a running track of the date and my starting word count for that date. My goal for a particular session is 500 words. I don't sweat it if I miss by a few, so long as I'm happy with what I did do. My goal for a day is 1500, but that's like a bulls eye.

Words in my thoughts file count toward this total. However, if I find that I'm spending too much time in this file, and not enough time pushing the rope of narrative plot, I slap myself across the face, tell myself to snap out of it, and get back to work.

Much of this presumes that the writing is a means to an end. The publication of a novel, the submission of a report to a committee, a daily blog maybe. Something. Under the worse case scenario, it is better to have a horrible ending than a horror without end. Writing without a particular purpose, without an ending toward which is it going, tends to become soggy, random, and self-indulgent. Endlessly so. It is still writing of course, and still a fair amount of work. My point here is that writing takes energy, and there is usually more energy for it if the writer has some clarity of the purpose for writing.

Hope this helps.
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