Thursday, February 02, 2006

JSB: Write, Don't Fret

Not long ago, I was in that Rod Serling territory between projects, getting ready to turn in one and get cracking on the next. So I had a couple of days there where I didn't write a lot and felt the Terrier of Doubt (TOD) yapping at my heels. You'd think that pup would've been put to sleep long ago, say after my tenth novel came out. But no, he is the lead dog in Satan's K-9 unit, and kicking him directly in the chops doesn't help.

What helps is writing. So one morning, first thing, before reading the Bible (God understands) checking e-mail or scanning the news, I did something else. I hammered out 700 words on the new project. It felt wonderful to be in flow. And it muzzled the demon yapster. Stephen King talks about writing constantly to keep ahead of the "waves of doubt." Or, as the great Satchel Paige put it, "Don't look back. Something may be gaining on you."

Dennis Palumbo is a former screenwriter (My Favorite Year) turned psychiatrist--a shrink who specializes in writers! Talk about your never ending fount of clients, especially in Hollywood. Anyway, he has a nice little book called Writing From the Inside Out which on the "mental game" of writing. He says in there, "An hour spent writing is an hour spent not fretting about your writing."

So today's lesson is fret not and write on. You'll not only stay ahead of the TOD, but you'll be piling up the words, then the pages, then the books. You'll be a writer, friends.

James Scott Bell is outrunning the TOD as he works on his next thriller. You can read about his others at


At 7:40 AM, Blogger Cheryl Russell said...

The TOD lives next door to me, only instead of yapping at my heels, he yaps at 10pm. and 8am. and get the idea. ;-0

Great post. Write on.

At 7:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm about 2/3 of the way through Sins of the Fathers and you have NOTHING to worry about. Apparently you are staying FAR ahead of that hound. Wonderful book! All of Grisham's plot and excitement, but better characterization than he ever thought about. Please don't ever stop writing!

At 8:30 PM, Blogger Lynette Sowell said...

So that's why I've had the feeling of being chased. After turning in one project this week, and waiting to hear on another proposal (I'll hear soon, I know). I just never had a name for it: TOD. I'll throw him a Milk-Bone and make a run for it...~~~

At 1:41 PM, Blogger Katy said...

Who let the dogs in? Yikes!
Katy Raymond


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