The 1000-Word Project: Creating a Palette

Daniel Fudge has committed to writing 1000 words a day for the month of April. He'll be sharing his journey with Writer's Edit readers each week. You can view his previous article here.

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Seven days in, 7000 words completed. So far, so good. With one caveat: everything I've written so far is crap. But that's not the point. The point is that I am creating a world, a space, a community of characters, and a narrative.

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A friend of mine once told me that writers, much the same as painters, must create their own raw materials. A good painter will create and mix their own paint. They will prepare their own canvas. And then, once they've developed their materials they will begin the artwork. A writer must create their own raw materials, too. Not pens and paper, but characters and settings and voices. What I am doing, then, is creating a palette that I will use in the writing of my novel. Essentially, I'm writing 1000 words of pre-novel every day. And it's actually a lot of fun. 

What I'm writing:

This where the main source of enjoyment comes from. Since I'm not bound by any sort of chronology or structure (because, remember: I'm creating the raw materials for a novel, not the novel itself) this allows me to jump freely from setting to setting and character to character. Halfway through drafting one scene I might write a particular phrase that triggers an idea for another scene. No matter: just insert an em-dash, drop a few lines, and start writing from a new perspective, with a new style, about a completely new setting. I may return to the initial scene later, or I may just leave it be.

I write monologues, dialogues, character and landscape studies, in the first-person or the third, in a refined or a rough style. As long as I do 1000 of them a day, I don't mind what words I put down on the page. 

How I'm writing:

For this exercise I am using my laptop. I often prefer to write with pen and paper, but the laptop has it's own advantages. Splurge-writing is at it's most effective when done on a laptop, in a dark room, with Microsoft Word blown up to full-screen size. It is 'writing-without-distraction' at its very best. 

Another advantage: word count. That's very important. I try not to let the little ticker on the bottom of the page distract me (which it often does) but it is nice having a definite end-goal for each day that I can measure easily and effectively.

Where I'm writing:

Car comp

Using a laptop has given Daniel's writing routine more flexibility...
Image Credit: Daniel Fudge.

Another good thing about the laptop is portability (sure, it doesn't fit in your pocket like a notepad, but it's close enough). I've written inside, outside, in the car, and in front of the TV. As the month continues maybe I’ll find a space that I feel most comfortable in, but for now it’s simply a mixture of experimenting with different settings and embracing convenience.

Moving onwards:

I find it easier to write on some days than others, but I can already feel this part of the day that I set aside for writing assimilating into my natural routine. If I have been able to lay the groundwork for a (fingers-crossed) lasting habit in just one week then hopefully by the end of the month my writing routine will be running like a well-oiled machine.

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