On Writing

July 31st of this year marked exactly 10 years since I made the commitment towards my writing practice. This was several months after my father had passed and the day of my 40th birthday. All I knew was that I needed to write.

Somewhere over the course of the past 34 years (I had wanted to be an author in 1st grade) I had gradually lost track of what was important — at least what was important to me and me alone. It took me 8 1/2 years to complete and publish my first book, Science & Perception. Even though this book marked an important accomplishment, I understood that I would have to adopt a different strategy if I wished to continue writing. After all, my first book had taken 8 1/2 years!

A little shy of one year ago (last September), I purchased a copy of Robert McKee's work, Story, after reading the section entitled "A Writer's Method" through an online preview. As I am writing this post I am almost done editing my second book. This book, The Spring of the Leaf will have taken approximately a year to write from start to finish.

It has been an oddly productive year for writing, not because I pushed myself harder than previous years, but because I had a solid writing approach to follow. If anything, I had to restrain myself from writing so that certain ideas could mature and ferment before making their way onto the page.

I credit this success in large part to the principles outlined throughout McKee's book, Story. If you are a writer (whether fiction or non-fiction) take a peek at his section entitled "A Writer's Method" buried at the back of his book.

While the idea of staying buried in notecards for several months might appear non-sensical, it works! At least it did for me. With his approach I was able to create a world that I could then tell a story about — something that I strongly feel any storyteller (whether fiction or non-fiction) should take the time to do.

If you're stuck, take the plunge and find out if this tool might help! Please post your experience with McKee's or any other methods (especially those that leverage the power of notecards) below.