How fortuitous it was that a copy of Piers Anthony’s second autobiography, How Precious Was That While, came to me shortly after I had blogged about Writers Block. It was published by Tor in 2002 in mass market paperback with an ISBN 9780812575439. If you’re a fan, you’ll love this curmudgeon fantasy author talk about his self, his books, and the industry. He devotes a whole chapter to the writing process, to include avoiding writers block in Chapter 4: Ironies. I’m taking the priviledge of encouraging you to find a copy and reading this book. I’m going to list some of his observations and tips as a way of explaining why this is such a worthwhile book:
Writing a novel is like running a marathon. It takes steady endurance.
Writers block may be an excuse not to do what people don’t want to do–write.
Always have a variety of projects to work on (like my writing both a mystery and a fantasy every other day).
Use a bracket system so that when you come to a stumbling block, use a bracket and [write a short note to yourself as to what you think should go there and that you should come back to it later]. Then keep on going. I review these every day and write notes in a journal to myself before quitting for the day.
Keep a daily Work Record and track your progress. (He writes 3,000 words of text, 1,000 words of novel notes, and 1,000 of Personal file every day for a total of 5,000 words a day.) He’s 77 YO and still writing. When he wrote this autobiography he had written over 125 novels. Writers block? I don’t think so.
A real writer should generate his inspiration as a tool, ready whenever he needs it.
Have a working spouse to take off the stress of supporting a family, freeing you up to write. (Try it for a trial year like he did).
He goes on with many other writing realities in this chapter, which is why you should try to get a copy of this book. He has a blog at http://piersanthonyblog.blogspot.com/ His Twitter address is PiersAnthony.
These are Piers’ thoughts, not mine. Don’t shoot the messenger! On the other hand, take these suggestions seriously. Piers is one of the most successful genre writers in the past 50 years or so.