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Sunday, August 21, 2016

The quest for writing discipline

cj Sez: While my writing discipline is pretty much non-existent, Elmore Leonard’s writing process was admirably consistent.

Writing well into his 80s, Leonard's writing process remained the same. He settled in at his home office in Bloomfield Township, Michigan, around 10 a.m. behind a desk covered with stacks of paper and books. He lit a cigarette, took a drag and set about to writing — longhand, of course — on the 63-page unlined yellow pads that were custom-made for him.

When he finished a page, Leonard transferred the words onto a separate piece of paper using an electric typewriter. He tried to complete between three and five pages by the time his workday ended at 6 p.m.

'Well, you've got to put in the time if you want to write a book,' Leonard told The Associated Press in 2010. 

(Excerpted from an August 20, 2013, article by the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail.on Elmore Leonard’s passing. Read more:

The problem for me is, once I’ve written the story, it’s nigh unto impossible for me to go back and change it. I don’t mean edit it, I mean really modify it. And now I have a short/short story (about 4,100 words) that I want to expand to between 8,000 and 12,000 words. The task is brought on by a desire to submit the finished product for consideration in an anthology.

It used to be, when I was B.R. (Before Retirement), that I worked better when I had a short-term deadline. That said, I thought if I gave myself a deadline, I’d have the incentive to keep going. Found out that’s not true. I have managed to bury that deadline under procrastination that I call “research.” Of course, research is necessary for accuracy, but it's those side forays into historical rabbit holes that do me in. 

However, I’m not giving up. Yesterday, I polished off a couple of paragraphs, added a few more, and last night I made a note or two when I went to bed. I get a lot of good ideas just before or just after I fall asleep so I keep a note pad and a pen right next to the bed. Sundays are for family and etc., so I won’t be sitting in front of the computer for very long. But Monday? Monday, I’ll get right back at it.

I suppose some of you might call that procrastinating. Nope, I’m calling it, Delayed Discipline.

That’s all for now, but how about you? When do you get your best ideas? Let me know how you conquer the blank page in front of you. I need all the help I can get.

Just a reminder: Choosing Carter is among the novels in the More than Friends bundle that publisher
Crimson Romance has slated for release on September 15.

You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

Choosing Carter  -- Kindle  /  Nook  /  Kobo   /  iTunes/iBook
Deadly Star --  Kindle  / Nook  / Kobo

Amazon Central Author Page:


  1. Boy do I understand the difficulty of meeting self-imposed deadlines. Didn't you find it was easier to meet other people's deadlines before you retired? :)

  2. I never had a problem with deadlines before I retired. I usually gave my self so much leeway, I started to second guess my effort because I thought I had missed something. Not so, now. Every time I do that self deadline thingy, the result is a great, big AARRGH. Thanks for stopping by, Jacqueline. Marilyn (aka cj)


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