Saturday, June 1, 2013

How to Write Prolifically

More than forty years ago, my Aunt Mary gave me a little paperback book by William Manners entitled, Wake Up and Write: How to Write Prolifically. She knew how much I longed to become a writer, so she gave me this thin volume advertised as "An 'Inspirational' Book for Writers and Would-Be Writers."

I wondered why the word inspirational was in quotation marks until I started reading it. Manners' brand of inspiration was of the drill-sergeant variety. He made clear that the only way to become a prolific writer is to write every day, even if your output is not voluminous. Of course, the more volume, the better. So he advised getting up an hour earlier in the morning, staying up an hour later at night with martini in hand (Obviously, Manners was not an evangelical Christian writer!), or, better yet, do both!

He quoted a maxim that now should be familiar to all of us: "Writing is simply a matter of application: Apply the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair and write!"

I was in my late teens when Aunt Mary gave me that book. Years later--after much hankering and praying and studying how to be a writer--I did what Manners said. I got up an hour earlier in the morning, stayed up an hour later at night (sans martini), and finally completed my first book. Six months later, Thomas Nelson published it.

I've been blessed to have several books published since then, and I've learned there is no substitute for Manners' method: Every day in the chair, at the keyboard...writing.

I gave my copy of Manners' book to another aspiring writer years ago, but writing this article has reminded me that I need to read it again, so I just logged onto Alibris.com and bought a used copy for a dollar. The next time I'm spiraling downward in self-pity, I'll set my alarm a bit earlier so I can Wake Up and Write.
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Joe Allison and his wife, Judy, live in Anderson IN, where Joe serves as Coordinator of Publishing for Church of God Ministries, Inc. Joe has several nonfiction books in print, including Swords and Whetstones: A Guide to Christian Bible Study Resources. He's currently writing a trilogy of Christian historical novels set in the Great Depression.

Visit Joe's blog at http://hoosierwriter.wordpress.com

6 comments:

  1. Good article, Joe, and I'll try to do it. My aim this month is to write 400 words (or more) daily M-Sat (taking a Sabbath rest on Sunday). Why 400? Since there are five Sundays, there are 25 writing days, which will add up to 10,000 -- my monthly writing track goal.

    By the way, do you drink ice tea instead of the martini? And is that tea shaken or stirred?

    Jeff

    P.S. I think I told you, but Becky was very impressed by the first page of your story, especially the twist at the end.

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    1. Jeff, that's a do-able writing goal and quite reasonable. For me, it's often iced coffee whirred (not shaken or stirred) with milk and sugar or honey. :-)
      Write on!
      Because of Christ

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    2. Actually, I like iced coffee as well, though mine simply has pink stuff stirred in. Until my favorite coffee shop closed, in fact, I'd get mine with mint and raspberry flavoring (no cream).

      Jeff

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  2. Huzzah, Joe! Excellent piece. And true, a reminder I needed. I'm looking forward to catching up with some good friends soon.
    Write on!
    Because of Christ

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  3. So far, Joe, everything you write is worth reading! Thanks for the excellent tips so interestingly conveyed. . . :-)

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  4. Great reminder. Now for the doing.

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