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September 9, 2006

This blog was actually written on August 30. Unfortunately, Internet access has been limited, so I'm just now getting to upload it.

Happy birthday to two of my favorites.

Deborah (better known as "Debbie") Gibson, born August 31, 1970. She had several top 10 hits in the late '80s, including the #1's "Foolish Beat" and "Lost In Your Eyes". Since then, she's landed several starring roles on and off Broadway, and her current duet with Jordan Knight (of New Kids fame) is climbing the AC chart early on.

Jeff Hardy, born August 31, 1976. One of the Hardy Boyz with his brother Matt, they were one of wrestling's star tag teams in the late '90s. Together, they were 5-time WWE (then WWF) and 1-time WCW tag champions. Jeff spent 1993-1996 in TNA before returning to the WWE two weeks ago.

The sad thing is that I can't do a complete bio for them. There's just too much information. I wish I could, but I can't sit here for two hours thinking of things I've missed when I have other things to do.

With that out of the way . . .

Let me go back to the August 23 blog. In this blog, I described how writing is a full time job, and used the idea of cutting employee hours as a comparison to what happens when you don't spend enough time writing.

This week, I'd like to recount another story I was told, this one to compare not having enough working hours to the disaster of breaking up your creative efforts over too long a time. This story was told to me when I took a class for food management certification. The teacher said it was simply a matter of getting it done, but I saw another problem. And because it involves someone's death, I'll just make it sketchy.

The food cops checked out one restaurant and gave it a clean bill of health. A week later, they received a report that a customer had died. They arrived at close that same day and found one employee on break, two slaving away in the kitchen, and the sink filled higher than its faucet in dirty equipment.

Do you see the problem? Since the sink was that full, and someone was on break during closing, it means they didn't have enough people working. It was a decision to be cheap that caused a man's death.

Likewise, you have to utilize every minute of your time as both writer and artist. If you wait too long, you'll forget what you were doing or something in real-life could happen that changes your idea, completely. Write seven days a week, six hours a day, and you'll get things done. It doesn't matter if you rewrite one page a hundred times or if you write twenty-five pages a day (which I've done).

Now, taking time off from a story isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes, you may get caught up in a problem. Work on another piece of writing for a day or two, and it may come to you when you go return to it. This is just your subconcious solving the problem. An example is one story I've been working on for several years. I wrote about half of one part, realize it wasn't going in the direction I wanted, and started going off on a tangent. Well, this project is so big I took several months off. I came back to it last Friday, and I realized it did need to go in the direction it took. In fact, it wasn't until I got to a piece of exposition that explained it that I knew what I needed in the story. Even more, the setup was there all along!

The key is not to exhaust yourself. Write three days in a row, then take a day off. Write two days, take a day off. That's a full week. Repeat the exact same days off each week. Write at least four hours every day. Given you'll do more on some days, you can easily get over twenty hours a week in. (Don't worry about running out of material for the day; much of this will be character creation, synopses, and editing.) Build up to at least thirty hours each week. If you overwork yourself, or underwork yourself, you can easily run into writer's block. I'll talk about that in my next blog.

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