Doo-de-ron-de-ron-de doo-de-ron-ron we hang out

There’ll be like one person who catches that reference, right? *g*

While I haven’t been online much the last week, I haven’t been unproductive. I’ve been writing up a storm on a couple short stories and a new novel WIP, and I’ve seen a real jump in my output. What I need to find is a way to keep churning out the words without letting other things slide. >_<

What’s worked rather well for me over the last two weeks is something I’ve jealously watched a bunch of people doing over on Google+: Writer Hangouts. Mary Robinette Kowal seems to be the pioneer behind this, both online and off (though my other agent-cousin Laura Anne Gilman has also run a bunch of hangouts, I believe). The basic idea is you gather a bunch of writers together, socialize for fifteen minutes, and then write for forty-five. Lather, rinse, and repeat. I haven’t been able to participate on G+ yet, because my laptop lacks a microphone and a camera. Hopefully it won’t be forever before I can afford a newer model.

Coffee and Books

Photo by Miguel Ugalde.

I was feeling bad about not being able to do the online hangouts, when it occurred to me that Kowal based the concept on writing hangouts she does in real life. So I started throwing the idea out to my local writer friends on Facebook, and lo and behold, I had a few takers. My wife and I have done about a half dozen of these now, and I think we’ve had a different crew come out and join us each time. One time we had a hard time keeping to the 45-15 rule, but it’s worked pretty well the others. Last night I got about 1200 words written in a couple hours at Starbucks!

(Yeah, I know 1200 words might not sound like a lot to some of the ridiculous people I know who bash out 4000+ words in a day, but I’m not a fast writer, so I was pretty dang pleased with it! Last week was also the first week this year where I didn’t struggle to make wordcount before my writers’ group deadline.)

You’d think a bunch of writers getting together at a Starbucks or whatever would just sit around and gab, but the structure allows us the time to talk while still making time to write. When we (I) declared it was time to write, it felt to me like there was a kind of peer pressure keeping everybody on-task. I would have felt embarrassed to be caught tweeting or surfing the internet, so all those distractions were off while I generated draft.

(In the interest of full disclosure, we did have one writer this week opine that this didn’t work for her, but I hope she gives it another shot.)

So this goes on the list of fun ways to boost wordcount. And you know, it’s great to look around and realize that I know a bunch of cool local writers.

Do you have something like this with your writer friends?

What strategies have you found to drive your output?

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5 Responses to Doo-de-ron-de-ron-de doo-de-ron-ron we hang out

  1. laird sapir says:

    I need to try something like this. Or…something! Really good idea, Joe!

  2. Joe Iriarte says:

    I hope it works for you!

  3. Lisa Iriarte says:

    But in your post, you never said how old your sister was . . . :p

  4. Tom Emmons says:

    Good ideas. I might be up for that kind of hangout myself.

    What’s inspired me lately has been mere boredom. I suddenly felt the need to explore the world that I’ve been creating for so long, a future history of the Earth’s Moon. Now that I’m playing in it, it’s incredibly easy to write it. I already know the world, and now I can pass it on to others.

    I don’t know what will happen with it, but I tell people I could be knitting just as well. I hope that I’m creating a really cool and comfy scarf.

  5. Joe Iriarte says:

    We should hang out and write on Google+ some time–I finally picked up an external webcam and mic!

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