The three writing habits that I follow to complete each new book.
By Dr Stephen Simpson
Dr. Stephen Simpson is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, and Elite Performance Director. He regularly appears on TV and radio, and his clients include leading names from the diverse worlds of sport, business, the entertainment industries, and professional poker.
In the fifth instalment of his exclusive blog for Palamedes, Dr Simpson shares three writing rituals that he follows to complete each new manuscript.
We all have our own writing style and rituals, and so the following comments are not recommendations, but just thoughts to ponder.
DOING IT YOUR WAY
We have all heard the expression that a change is as good as a rest, and it seems to work well for writing a book. If possible, find somewhere isolated, and stay on your own for a week. My approach is to take plenty of long walks to give room for the power of the unconscious mind to break free. The skeleton of your book should soon start to take form and develop a life of its own.
It is a lonely path, and after a week you will probably crave the company of other people. However there is great satisfaction and not a little excitement in having completed a large part of the structure of your book in just a few days.
START BASHING THE KEYS
Some authors type their manuscript on an old-fashioned typewriter and, even harder to believe, some still prefer to use a sharp pencil and a notepad.
Most rely on their their laptop, and my preference is to use voice recognition software. It needs a lot of correction, but the benefits are that it protects your wrists, and allows your words to retain a light conversational style that is more difficult to obtain from a keyboard.
YOU ARE CERTAIN TO BE ASKED THESE QUESTIONS
The pleasures of day dreaming and doodling are a constant distraction, and you will find your attention being drawn to anything other than what you should be doing. Writing your book. So self-discipline is therefore required.
Some authors set themselves a certain minimum number of words or pages to complete every day. My personal preference is to draft one chapter every day and spend the following day reviewing and editing it.
My books are typically about 30,000 words and the industry trend seems to be that books are getting shorter. Something to do with our shortening attention span, I guess. Self-discipline willing, your first draft can be complete in about a month, and the final pieces of the jigsaw now fall into place.
Congratulations! I never said it would be easy, but it is almost certainly a lot easier than you think.