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How a book gets written

Okay, so this isn’t, like, step-by-step instructions detailing how I go about concocting all the words that eventually make up draft zero of a new novel. I mean, if you really want to read about that, I’ll be happy to give you a big bulleted list that’ll mostly be alternating points of weeping into the bottom of a coffee cup and basting myself in shame.  But I suppose that might be interesting.

But, um, that’ll be a long post.  So sorry, no time now.  After the draft is finished, I swear.

What I’m talking about today is the specific reward I use to motivate myself to get each days word count done.  Now, I know you’re probably thinking, Dude, you claim to be a writer, aren’t, you know, the words reward enough? Well, honestly, yes they are.  In total.  But some days, especially in the deep, dark, lightless middle of a book where you feel like you’re trying to dead man’s float all the way from the England to Maine, it’s nice to give yourself something small to reward your perseverance.

Plus, if you do it right, it can also eventually trigger a Pavlovian response! How cool is that, right?

Anyway, when I wrote Famine, which, admittedly came out a glacial pace, I’d reward myself after every three chapters with a bottle of Arrogant Bastard Ale.

But, um, these days, I try to churn out a book in a month.  No, it’s not easy, but yes, it’s very doable. But at that rate, I’d be rewarding myself with 22 oz of 7.6% ABV, 250+ calories bottles of beer a few times a week.  And, well, that’s not exactly the World’s Best Plan.

So, instead, when I’m power-writing a project, I’ve switch to Dark Chocolate M&M’s (a mix of plain and peanut, natch), because Mmmmm…M&Ms.

But last week, something awful happened.  I exhausted my supply before I finished by book.  Undeterred, I pressed on anyway.  But at the end of each night I found myself drooling like Guy Fieri at a pig roast.  And there no M & Ms in sight.

Thankfully, last night, I finally, finally acquired the requisite bags of melt-in-your-mouth, dark chocolately goodness.  And now they live happily in the candy dish above my desk, just waiting to be nom’d with reckless, word-fueled abandon.

Which is good, because in a few hours, after I’ve written today’s words, I’m gonna be slobbering like Scooby-Doo staring at a 5 foot-long submarine sandwiches topped with a box of Scooby Snax.

Pud’n


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2 comments on “How a book gets written

  1. I think if I were rewarding my chapters with either beer or chocolate, I’d be finding that my chapters were getting shorter, and shorter…

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  2. Oh, don’t you worry, I’d do the same if the limit was still x chapters. But now I’ve not actual daily word count requirements based on number of days I have left to panic, aka, the deadline, before anybody gets chocolatey goodness.

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