Anthony Burgess and the Martini Method

There's an old story about the writing habits of Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange, for those of you who don't know). Legend has it that his method for production was to force himself to write 1000 words a day, 365 days a year. Every day, when he'd finish, he'd stop working and reward himself with a martini. When I read this, I thought to myself, hmmm...1000 words is doable. And 365,000 words a year is certainly production. So, I've tried it out, and so far, so good.

I write something, anything, 1000 words. Even if nothing salable comes of it, the exercise itself is honing my craft. I learn something every time I sit down to write. How to create believeable dialogue. How to take a character sketch and shape it into a story with direction. Sometimes I just make one line better, more accurate, more artful. And then I am free for the rest of the day. Free from guilt, and free to think, wonder, and imagine.

Good news has come today. A story I sent off a few weeks ago to a British horror magazine has passed the first read with the editors. Not an acceptance, but it has put me on cloud nine. It's progress. Yeah!

21 January 2008


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