The Pledge: Writing in Snippets on Day One

IMG00123Twelve pages today, plus two walks on the beach, a shopping spree to the dollar store, shrimp and grits for dinner at Sears Landing and now we’re watching a movie and eating French Silk ice cream. All in all an excellent day.

One thing that helped me tremendously today was a little trick I recently picked up from Mary Kay Andrews. On one of our recent writing retreats, Mary Kay challenged us to write as many pages as possible in the thirty minutes before dinner. I whipped out five pages, amazing myself. You would think that after writing nineteen books, I’d know that I’m capable of  making good use of small amounts of time, but I tend to think I can only write if I have several uninterrupted hours in front of me. I also tend to get distracted as I write, stopping to research whatever I’m writing about as though I can’t possibly put another word on paper until I know the perfect accellerant for an arson fire or the method used to name hurricanes or–my current distraction–how to kill off a husband (fictional, of course). Part of the writing-in-snippets approach is forgetting about research for the time being. No distractions allowed!

The movie just ended. John’s washing the ice cream bowls, and I can hear the ocean through the double-paned windows. Maybe I’ll steal another few minutes before bed…


  1. Ann on December 28, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Diane, we have never been to Topsail in the winter – just wondering if the pretty lights are on the beach road. Your blog is making me homesick for the beach! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Joann on December 28, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Wow I am so impressed. How I wish that I could be there with you. Have a wonderful time, talk with you when you’re back. Love those lights, Jo

  3. Margo on December 28, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Ah, I can hear the ocean waves right along with you Diane…you’re so descriptive even with your blogs that I fell like I’m right there!…again, love these lights of the starfish…the nautical theme of lights reminds me of our visits to Cannon Beach, Oregon in Dec…they had the same thing on main street…you make me long for this again.
    You’re doing excellent with the promise to yourself…12 pages already!…plus the walks and all the fun things…your amazing…can’t wait to read what you do next and I hope you post another nautical light. (-O:

  4. Margo on December 28, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Ann, for some reason I thought you vacationed at TopSail every winter?…maybe it’s a different beach…

  5. brenda on December 28, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Twelve pages…goodness…that is something. I am overwhelmed with so much going on in our lives right now…I can’t even concentrate enough to grade papers…
    School begins Jan 4th…I have to get tons of things done because two weeks later-finals…and then we start with new students…BLOCK scheduling. I am going to try your technique…I, like you, think I need big blocks of time to grade papers, write the column, whatever I am doing. I’ll try the short periods for awhile…
    I am trying to keep things going here…did organize my hats and scarves by color-my son teases me…I am one of these women who actually wraps the gifts by color…one color for each grandchild-to avoid mix ups…not really OCD…just a touch…have a grand time at the beach…thanks for the tip…
    P.S. Are the 12 pages rewrites or for the new novel?

  6. brenda on December 28, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    In case I forgot-the latest M. Streep movie is fantastic…

  7. Margo on December 28, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Brenda, I think Diane’s 12 pages are for THE MIDWIFES CONFESSION…I believe THE LIES THEY TOLD is all done and at the publishers…comes out June of this year…she’s working on MIDWIFES and has to turn it in by May I think.
    We’re going to try to see M Streep’s ITS COMPLICATED this Thur….can’t wait!…Brenda, I like your idea of wrapping by color for each person…I do something very similar.

  8. Diane Chamberlain on December 28, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Ann, I too thought you visited Topsail every February, but maybe we have you mixed up with someone else? I will say this: it feels quite chilly and it’s only been in the 50s, maybe a little colder when I was out with the dogs early this morning. I’m bundled up when I go out and it’s beautiful, so it doesn’t bother me but if it were ten degrees cooler with a cold rain and the wind typical of the area, it could be very uncomfortable.

    Brenda, Margo’s correct. I’m working on TMC and it’s anything but ready for revisions! LOL. Still just getting the story down. And today did NOT go according to plan…I’ll post to the blog later, in the spirit of honesty. Till then, I have a snippet or two to fill.

  9. Ann on December 28, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    We go to Topsail for a week every May. We go to the Outer Banks for a week in February. I love both places but think the Outer Banks would be much too crowded in May. Topsail is perfect at that time.

  10. Denise on December 28, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Just the mere smell of a beach would be enough to satisfy me this time of year. I can’t imagine anything more relaxing and cozy than looking out the window at a beach, watching waves roll in. I’m glad you were able to get some work accomplished today!

  11. brenda on December 29, 2009 at 10:27 am

    It is 21 degrees here. My son is freezing-after living in Florida and California…the beach sounds great…they leave Wednesday night-mom will be sad. I am doing chores, baking, and rereading some of my favorites. Diane-I hope you are okay-I know that I am plagued with physical ailments that get worse as I get older…not the least I shrank one inch…I kid the granddaughters and tell them that Nana will be so short they will have to look down at me…I don’t know about the rest of you, but it is difficult to find new books this time of year. I am waiting for Joanne Dobson-one of my favorites-and B. Delinsky…they should arrive the first week of January…can’t wait…I order those because I love to reread them. Diane-thanks for keeping me straight on the books-Margo does too-I have days when I can’t get to the Blog, and I feel as if I miss a lot.
    Let’s see…l0 year old girl…cottage…cat…okay, I am intrigued. There will come a day when you, Diane, will BLOG about names, etc…that’s when we will really become intrigued.

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