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I've been creative writing all my life, though with various haitus(es) along the way. IFrom 2010 I started this blog and enjoyed sharing writing and other information with everyone. illness and bereavement supplied the more recent hiatus.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

W: Waiting for the right idea and Word Count

In the latest issue 49 of Mslexia is an interview with author, Louise Welsh in which she says:

The Cutting Room"After the success of The Cutting Room, it was a case of that difficult second album. I think I forced it a bit. I thought I ought to start writing before waiting for the right idea..."She advocated, carrying ideas around for a while, taking notes and letting the ideas germinate when they are ready.
Now this immediately struck a chord with me, as I feel like I'm trying so hard to write that successful story that I've frazzled my brain.

While I wait for that big idea, maybe I should do my nails? Read a magazine?

Do you panic and force your writing?

Or do you enjoy the whole writing experience?

Oh anyone tell me how many words they plan to write per chapter of their novel?

I tend to aim for 2,000 words per chapter and achieve more or less as befits what is happening.
I'm being patient
Waiting for the right idea
I hope it's not long.



  1. The only time I really force my writing is when I'm desperate to get something done and am almost there, or if I'm doing NaNo ;) But often with NaNo the words just flow, so it's not a matter of forcing. Last year I did end up having to force myself to finish though. I blame it on discarding my pantser ways :D

  2. I will force my writing, but that's ok. The edits are for fixing the manuscript up. And if it can't be fixed then I move on to another project. The more I write, the better I'll become as a writer.

    And no, I don't set a word count for each chapter. It depends on the scenes too much.

  3. (Fellow Mslexia reader here!) I'm always in two minds. I've never believed in forcing my writing, but then, I also miss a lot of deadlines because that 'great idea' didn't come. The answer is, I don't know. I don't feel I've found the answer for me yet, and I've been writing for 25 years!

  4. I'm eternally glad I have no urge to write a novel - the process comes across as self inflicted torture, where I'm sitting! LOL

  5. Hi Madeleine .. occasionally I think 'I've had enough of this' .. and hit publish .. not terribly happily - then some comment saying what a great post .. I feel a bit sort of .. wobbly! I do so much in my head .. then it's very frustrating to have to do it again .. and I forget all the wonderful words and phrases I used!

    Cheers enjoy today .. Hilary

  6. A sentence floats into my head and I tug at it, and then the story keeps coming to me. It is not so much an idea, but a waking dream. When I get one of those, I just abandon everything and start taking down what I see and hear.

    The ideas come later, when I'm looking at the plot during my subsequent drafts.

    Ouch, does that even make sense?

  7. I wouldn't worry about having to wait for ideas, as the worrying itself can stifle creativity. The best advice I would give is to keep a prompt bowl/jar full of the ideas you get when you're cleaning the toilet or doing the dishes. All you need is a sentence or tow on a piece of paper. Then every day spend a few minutes developing one of those ideas. It doesn't matter if you don't use all of them but amongst them there will be a few gems.

    When I get an idea I tend to let it float around my brain for a while and let the muse take over. I have forced myself to write on a few occasions and it wasn't nearly as painful as I thought it would be.

    With regard to chapter lengths, I think trying to keep each chapter to a certain word length stifles the organic process of writing a novel. I'm aiming for around 90 to 100k with both my novels, and as they progress the chapters just seem to be evolving - the best places to end and begin sort of highlight themselves. Does that make sense?

  8. I've been trying to force ideas lately because I wanted to try out the plotter route - plotting the whole story in detail before writing it. But it just didn't work!! So I've gone back to what worked with my first ms. Just write with a vague outline in mind and the ideas gradually drop into place over time :-)

  9. Doh. That should have read, 'a sentence or two.'

  10. I tend to force my writing, especially when I'm stuck and trying to get past something. Probably shouldn't, because the times when I wait and let it flow when it's ready are the best times to write.

    My chapter word count target is 2500 minimum. I use that kind of as a guide to help determine where I need to flesh out the story more, or provide more description, etc.

  11. Your haiku is right on. I'm constantly writing about not being able to write. It always helps me, and I'm confident your muse will arrive.

    Great writing,


  12. Painting nails always helps me! Seriously!!

    I only force ideas if I see a competition or a mag I'd like to submit too. I guess I have to if I'm to meet their deadlines.

    Otherwise, for my current wip, the cetnral idea just grew and grew the more I thought of it until I was fit to busting and just needed to write it all down! LOL!! Badly, I must add!

    My chapter words varies a lot so I can't really say! I love your haiku here btw!! I just know your right idea is simmering away waiting to burst forth! Yay! take care

  13. I have forced my writing. But it usually backfires because I end up going back and changing it after the inspiration comes.

  14. I really think there's such a thing as 'seasons.' By this I mean the right time to write. Sometimes, a period of time is just not a good time to write, or another time your brain is indded, fried.

    I know I need a clear mind and space to write. The rest takes care of itself.

  15. Old Kitty Thank you. :O))

    Ellie, that does sound like a great idea. I think I need to relax and allow the creativity juices a chance to flow again.

    D.U. Yes i agree about seasons for writing. Usually the gloomier months are less productive for me. :O)

  16. cute Haiku the pic is hilarious.... I hope your wait is not long either!

  17. You hope the idea's not long or the wait's not long?

    Pool of Grace

  18. I think sitting down and writing whether I feel like it or not always leads to a productive session. :D

  19. I keep writing and deleting and after publishing just wait to see how others will react to my musings.... Please do visit my blog and leave your footprints behind by posting comments:-



  20. I do force my writing at times but I still usually have fun with it.

    Hope you join us in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge Reflections Mega Post on Monday May 2nd.

  21. For me, it's not that organized. I can't tell you how many words I PLAN to write. I just do it and see what pops up. I guess that's the definition of a true pantser.


  22. "I'm being patient
    Waiting for the right idea
    I hope it's not long."
    plus your waiting cartoon is marvelous!!

    When on a time schedule - my brain can jump from brain-freeze to full flow - I never know! Fortunately I know I am only working with 17 syllables (most of the time)!

  23. I am not a writer. I am not even an English speaking person, although I speak English.
    But after all this writing for the A to Z challenge, I've been challenged by one blogger who is a writer.
    So, what I am trying to say is that, even though I am completely out of my expertise area I am going to try to write something called Flash fiction (some 1000 words. Still I don't know what I am going to write, but I am not bothered, I know the idea will just spark and then it would be a matter of start writing, editing, writing again and so on.
    I intend to enjoy the whole process, so no rush.
    BTW; nice to meet you

  24. So sorry this is days late - we had some wind damage and I was offline for several days! Fun haiku this time - hope it wasn't too long either :)


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