Ask Us Something: Elizabeth and I Reply Questions About Writing

In episode 438 of the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, Elizabeth and I answered listener questions on writing in an “Ask Us Something.” Listed below are some highlights:

How does writing a novel differ from writing TV? Is doing one preparation for doing the opposite, or are they actually totally different?

Elizabeth: They’re very totally different, very difficult in several methods. Writing a novel proper now feels tougher, as a result of I haven’t achieved it as usually as I write TV. It’s a number of enjoyable, however I discover it extraordinarily intimidating, as a result of I feel it’s exhausting to maintain somebody’s consideration. It appears like a giant accountability. 

Writing TV is all about utilizing as few phrases as attainable, being temporary. In novel writing, you should use a number of phrases, and I ponder “How am I going to replenish all these pages?” Then I discover myself overwriting, and I’ve to return and lower. 

In tv, every thing must be in dialogue, whereas in a novel, you’ll be able to actually get into the inside monologue, which I like. 

And in addition, one factor that’s enjoyable about writing a novel is that you just don’t have to consider the price. One thing can explode, you’ll be able to have 5 hundred characters, you’ll be able to journey the world, as a result of all of it prices the identical quantity to print the web page. After we’re writing TV, we spend a lot time interested by manufacturing. 

Do you sit at your desk at a prescribed writing time even if you happen to don’t have a transparent concept of what you’ll write?

Gretchen: Sure, I do. If I don’t know what I’m going to put in writing, I’ll putter round with one thing. I’ve at all times bought a number of stuff to put in writing.

Elizabeth: I don’t, however I in all probability ought to. Once I’m working, I’ve so many issues to try this writing will get slot in wherever I can. That’s a part of what I wrestle with writing the novel, I don’t have these prescribed instances.

How do you restart a undertaking that’s been languishing for some time?

Gretchen: I might say: Get again into it. Put aside a while every single day. Use all of your habit-formation methods to make constant time for it. Learn by the entire thing with out modifying it, and determine the way you need to begin participating. Do you need to choose up and begin writing once more? Do you need to begin at the start and edit? 

This could possibly be a state of affairs the place “It’s not a bug, it’s a function.” If they’ll, many writers will put one thing away for six months, in order that after they come again to it, they’ll have a contemporary eye. Ultimately, it’d profit your artistic undertaking that you’ve a little bit of distance from it. 

What ideas do you have got for solo writers who want inspiration, collaboration, accountability, and simply plain assist to maintain going or get by a tough patch?

Gretchen: Each of us are large followers of being in writers’ teams, however this to me seems like a straight-up accountability drawback. Unfurl the listing of accountability methods, use the Happier™ app, the Don’t Break the Chain Behavior Trackerthere are many instruments you should use when you understand you want exterior accountability. 

Elizabeth: And the final word accountability: Take a web based writing class the place you need to flip stuff in. Most of us need to be good college students.

How do you are taking your work from a single concept right into a full fleshed-out piece?

Elizabeth: That’s the million-dollar query. For me, as a result of I work with a associate, it’s a number of speaking. We go from an concept, to notes for a pitch, to a pitch, to a top level view. We’ll discuss a scene and go off and write the define for that scene, taking turns, after which go to script. It’s an extended, many-step course of, and I feel it’s related for the novel as nicely.

Gretchen: For me, usually I’ll have an concept or a query I need to reply, and I at all times begin with the analysis. Tons of studying and note-taking, usually throwing spaghetti towards the wall: something that appeals to me, something that strikes my curiosity, something that surprises me. I take a number of notes that by no means find yourself paying off, as a result of they signify dead-ends. At a sure level, I’ll know the topic nicely sufficient to have a idea—for example, with with habit-formation.

And there’s the issue of the construction, which is at all times very tough to determine. Should you take a look at any of my books, you may suppose I simply picked the obvious construction, however each time, it was months of labor–after which I’ll understand I have to do extra analysis. Then there’s usually an enormous quantity of slicing. For my e book Life in 5 Senses, I lower out in all probability 3 times as a lot completed materials as what seems within the e book. Folks usually ignore that half when speaking about writing: a number of it’s slicing.

How do you method writing a few private expertise that shut buddies or household is perhaps offended by?

Elizabeth: One factor I do know individuals do is change greater than the title. Change different particulars—job, gender, the place the particular person lives—so that you just actually can’t inform who it’s. That particular person, relying on the story, nonetheless may acknowledge themselves. It’s important to ask your self, “Am I okay with this?” 

Writers really feel very in a different way about this. Some individuals really feel, “That is my lived expertise and I’m going to put in writing what I need to write,” and different individuals will present somebody a chapter of their e book and ask in the event that they’re okay with publishing it. It actually comes all the way down to your private philosophy.

Extra questions I’m usually requested:

How do I spark my creativity?

What’s my course of for taking notes?

How does an individual turn out to be a printed writer?

How do I learn a lot?

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