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Cory Doctorow’s best practices

Cory Doctorow once told me he had a pile of book contracts and writing projects in queue, and I asked him how he managed to produce so much (and blog at boingboing, too) – at the time he was also employed as online activist for th Electronic Frontier Foundation. He was just disciplined – an early riser who committed a daily couple of hours to writing before jumping into the fray.

For the science fiction trade magazine Locus, Cory’s documented the current state of his best practices in Writing in the Age of Distraction.

When I’m working on a story or novel, I set a modest daily goal — usually a page or two — and then I meet it every day, doing nothing else while I’m working on it. It’s not plausible or desirable to try to get the world to go away for hours at a time, but it’s entirely possible to make it all shut up for 20 minutes. Writing a page every day gets me more than a novel per year — do the math — and there’s always 20 minutes to be found in a day, no matter what else is going on. Twenty minutes is a short enough interval that it can be claimed from a sleep or meal-break (though this shouldn’t become a habit). The secret is to do it every day, weekends included, to keep the momentum going, and to allow your thoughts to wander to your next day’s page between sessions. Try to find one or two vivid sensory details to work into the next page, or a bon mot, so that you’ve already got some material when you sit down at the keyboard.

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