The thoughts and work of Sam Witt

Camp NaNoWriMo – Go Big – Day 3

Go Big Day 3 - Burning Keyboard

It’s been one of those days. Those days that kick ass.

Some of you may know that I’ve been struggling with my writing for the past few weeks. It wasn’t anything crippling, just an overall sense of the blahs and lack of motivation. Every time I got ready to write, my lizard brain was all like, “Bitch, please. You got The Witcher to play.”

There was also the matter of a pivotal event in the next Pitchfork County book, which I do not want to write. I have less than five thousand words left on that book, but a thousand of them make me so sad that I can’t bring myself to put them down on paper. I thought about ditching them, but if I feel that strongly about that scene then I know it needs to be there. It has to be there.

And so I’ve had self-imposed writer’s block for going on three weeks, like a whiny little punk.

Then there was this other bright and shiny idea, one that I think is going to be really, really popular when it finally comes out. It haunts my dreams, this idea. It makes me want to scribble its words into my…

Ahem, anyway. It’s an idea that won’t leave me alone.

It’s the idea I’m writing as we speak.

DAY TWO: The Writing! (Marsellus and Me)

Every writer knows better than to get attached to a single idea. Ideas are fucking cheap, bro, even really good ideas. There’s no point in holding one above all others and treating it like a vestal virgin that can only be revealed to the world when the stars are aligned.

And yet we all have an idea that we think is more specialer than the others. We keep it secret in our heads, afraid to even entrust its magnificence to our must treasured journal. Because once we start writing, that idea becomes something else. It becomes a story and if there’s one thing writers know, it’s that we can mangle stories real good like.

This idea was like that. I love it in its pristine state as a collection of emotive sparks of thought twirling around my brain like a troupe of stripper fairies off their asses on absinthe.  I wanted to write it, I was just afraid I was going to hurt it.

Today, I stat down and went to work on that story. I took after it with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch. My inner Marsellus Wallace and I, we got medieval on its ass.

As a result, I’ve ended today with more than 5,000 words written. Despite a trip to Ikea. Despite stuffing my face at Mellow Mushroom. Despite a trip out to get fine meats which will be grilled on the morrow.

That, my friends, is cause to celebrate.

Oh, and about that secret that I promised to reveal. The way to write fast, the way to fill pages with words when you’re drafting, is to reduce the effort it takes to get the words written. Clear all obstacles from your path when it comes to writing. If possible, make sure that there is some way to write in every room of your home.

I have an iPad with Ulysses that goes with me everywhere while I’m in the house. Yes. Everywhere. If the mood strikes, I start writing on it. Not a lot, mind you – iPads are shit for typing on. But once I start writing I want to keep writing. And to keep writing I normally head to a real computer and keep the words flowing.

There’s a Moleskine and pen that comes with me pretty much everywhere I go outside of the house. There’s a Hobonichi planner (that I totally just use for writing journaling because the paper feels so sexy under my fountain pen) that is never far away in case I need to capture some personal thing or other.

Finally, I keep a desktop computer on at all times. It’s got Scrivener and Dragon Naturally Speaking on it. If I have a good outline and I’m ready to really plow through a lot of words in a hurry, I sit down and start dictating.

Of course, there’s also my trusty Macbook Pro that I use if I want to sit in my lounge chair and watch shitty horror movies while I type. That’s also where I do all my fancy formatting and publishing work, because it’s awesome for that. I also bring it with me if I travel, so I don’t miss any writing days and can handle the day-to-day writer work. It also has Dragon on it, but the OSX version of Dragon is like an inbred half-cousin to the PC version. Nuance, stop being such a bunch of fuckers and get us some parity between platforms. Assholes.

Finally, and this is new to me, I picked up an AlphaSmart Neo2 for a goddamned song. This thing is like a pretty good keyboard that also just happens to store whatever plaintext files you store into it. It’s lightweight and perfect for use with my newly-crafted Jank-Ass Walking Desk (TM). It has 0 load time and transfers text to whatever computer you plug it into without the need to fuck around with any software. It’s also cheap and easy to use, which is just about the best thing I can say about it.

Having these ubiquitous tools floating around me at all times means I have no excuse to NOT be writing. By removing any resistance to starting the writing process, it’s much easier for me to be writing.


More words. Lots more words. It is the 4th, though, so there’s a better than even chance that the middle of my day is going to be shot straight in the face. I’ve got brisket burgers to cook and beers to drink. Gotta recharge the writing batteries, ya know.

Still, I plan on getting out of the house and heading to the coffee shop while my dearest wife is doing the grocery shopping, which means I’ll have a solid couple of hours to grind out the words right out of the gate.

Then I can write again at night. Can I hit at least 5k tomorrow?

Let’s see.

Looking Forward

My editor has agreed to play along with my harebrained scheme and he’ll even be doing some writing after he finishes editing passes on each of the novellas. You’ll be able to see what it’s like to work with a writer who ambushes you with unexpected work during the height of summer vacation and hopefully he won’t say anything too terrible about me.

I also need to bust ass over the next couple of days, because I have a lot of Very Serious day job things coming up that are going to be eating up at least 8 hours of my day until the end of the month. If I can hit 5k/day for the next two days, I’ll be in good shape for that. That’ll let me glide on 2k a day if I need to, which is so doable it makes me want to do a happy hamster dance.

Glide Path

Fucking. Killing. It.


About Sam

I am the author of the popular Pitchfork County series of horror novels. I also write a newsletter with great reading suggestions and free fiction.