ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Writing on Borrowed Time: The Lindsay Lohan Method

Random Elvis Picture (From Azteca Mexican)
I don’t know if it’s the monsoons, shooting stars, or the constant need to babysit our new hyperactive Great Dane, but my imagination is running wild these days. I have more ideas now for things than I’ve had in many moons. It’s really hard to contain the creativity whirling about in my head. Three short stories, a screenplay, four novels, a novella, and little old me, this is in addition to what I’m already contracted. As it stands I only have about three hours a day now to write. Most of the time it’s enough to work on the current project, but I can’t imagine how cool it would be if I had entire days to work. I know that if I did, I’d partition the time; something to allow me to work on a novel, story and a screenplay each day. I envy my friends who work full time.

Maybe I should go to jail. According to Lindsay Lohan’s lawyer, “She’s writing a lot. She’s creating art…” Hell. People pay for this sort of author’s retreat (Ians).

But alas, I am unwilling to head to the big house. Not only don’t I want to be someone’s love puppet, but I just hate the feel of jumpsuits against my crotch.

Karen Fenech recommends doing what I normally do, which is to rationalize your goals. “Part of my problem with getting my writing done was that I wouldn’t write unless I could reserve a big block of time to do it. I rarely could do that, so I didn’t write at all. Once I stopped thinking in terms of hours-- and started thinking in minutes-- I got my writing done.”

Personally, I like to set goals. Tom Piccirilli once told me his secret of magical output: five pages a day. I keep to this mercilessly when I’m on task.  My fellow National University alumnus Sahag Gureghian also agrees. When finding time to write, he believes in setting goals. “I can’t stress the importance of this. Having goals is key. I’ve found writing my goals down really helps me stay focused. Whenever I get distracted, I read my goals and am reminded of what I am trying to do and why.”

But even with a goal of five pages, when my allotted time is up, that’s really all I’m able to do. Karen thinks in terms of minutes, I think in terms of pages. Maybe I need to up the quota. Maybe seven pages. Or ten. Or 15. Maybe by virtue of having a greater goal, I'll be able to achieve it.

Buddy Brian Keene squirts 15,000 words on a Saturday. But knowing him, he’s chained to the computer, blood pouring from his eyes, fingertips taped to keep the nails in place, as he works all day and into the wee hours of the morning. I just can’t do that.

I once read a copy of Esquire that gave me an idea. I can’t remember the issue, but I know it was published in the mid-90s and it had Steve Martin on the cover. Anyway, this issue had an article about berthing aboard merchant ships. Evidently, merchant ships have a few passenger berths. You can get the solitude, the ocean, and the voyage, without the hassle of screaming children, buffet stampedes, and high seas karaoke. The author of the article packed a case of wine, his laptop and sailed to Asia. By the time he arrived, his novel was complete.

Short of an overseas voyage, I’m starting to think seriously of the Lindsay Lohan method. Imagine days where all I have to do is write. It sounds like heaven to me. Even if I do have to wear jumpsuits. Even if I do have to be someone’s love puppet.

Works Cited

Fenech, Karen. “Finding Time to Write When You Have No Time To Write.” Absolute Write.  n.d. Web.  30 July 2010. http://absolutewrite.com/novels/finding_time_to_write.htm.

Gureghian, Sahag. “Finding the Time to Write.” We the Bistro. 22 February 2010. Web. 30 July 2010.  http://mediabistro.posterous.com/finding-the-time-to-write.

Ians. “Lindsay Lohan Spending Time in Jail Writing and Eating.” Entertainment Daily. 29 July 2010. Web. 30 July 2010. http://blog.taragana.com/e/2010/07/29/lindsay-lohan-spending-jail-time-writing-and-eating-153456/.

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