Today is IWSG Day. IWSG stand for Insecure Writers Support Group and was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of IWSG is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! You can follow other IWSG members here or on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG. We also have a Facebook page.
Today our question is How do you find the time to write in your busy day?
We all know the answer to that: we just do it, because we all find time to do what we really want to do. Okay, I know you’re all expecting a better answer than that, aren’t you?
Being retired, I guess it’s pretty easy for me to find time to write, so let me tell you about a guy I met a few weeks ago at the Killer Nashville Conference.
Robert Randisi (standing beside KN founder Clay Stafford and dressed in the I’m a Big Deal tee) writes something like 25 books a year. He’s written close to 700 books with 15 pseudonyms. He was born with the ability to write fast and works on two books at a time. Specifically, twenty pages of a western during the morning and 20 pages of a mystery at night. Sounds insane, doesn’t it? I can’t imagine. Well, yes, I can imagine and it sounds mentally painful. Oh, how I wish I could do it!
Randisi says he has a “natural speed” and if he slows down he can’t get anything done. He doesn’t call it a talent. He says he has an ability. He can write 10 pages in one hour.
Quoting from my notes, he says character comes first and he never writes from an outline. Don’t ask him where he gets his ideas:
“If you can’t open your eyes each morning and see an idea, you shouldn’t be writing.”
Randisi believes in writing his stories all the way through. No revision as he writes but overall, very little rewriting. Someone asked what he did if he realized he made a mistake while writing the story—did he go back and change it?
No, he doesn’t. He explained that if he sends his cowboy out of the boarding house without his gun, instead of rewriting the scene, his character says, “Dang, I forgot my gun,” and goes back to get it. It works for him and adds to his word count.
He’s often invited to participate in anthologies. He told us that once he finishes the short story, he’ll write it as a novel. No, he doesn’t change names, plot or anything … he just makes it a bigger story.
Robert Randisi co-founded Mystery Scene Magazine around 1985. (I’ve been a subscriber off and on for years. Check it out.) He also co-founded American Crime Writers League, founded The Private Eye Writers of American and created the Shamus Award which is awarded by the PWA for the best detective fiction genre novels and short stories of the year.
As you’ve figured out by now, Randisi doesn’t waste his time. Most of us do. No, he doesn’t have little feet padding through the house, and yes, he’s been accused of being a hack. From his own lips:
“I view the word hack as a good thing.”
We should take a few pointers from Robert Randisi. Focus. Write. Don’t mess around with editing as we go. By his own admission he’s not a wordsmith—he’s a storyteller. What are you? Ever thought about it?
I can find nothing wrong with the Randisi writing method. I picked up one of his books in his Rat Pack series and it yanked me in and kept me reading. The guy knows what he’s doing.
And he’s a good guy. Granted, he was perplexing at the conference. An enigma. We stared at him as if he might, at any point, laugh and say “Gotcha! No one can write 40 pages a day!” He never did.
He answered our questions over and over again—the same questions put to him in several different ways. We didn’t understand him. We still don’t.
Doesn’t matter though, because while we write and revise and think awhile and run to the kitchen for a snack, blog and tweet and post on Facebook (he does none of those things) he’s pounding the keys. And he doesn’t understand us, either.
When asked how he wants to be remembered, Randisi said: “As someone who told a good story and usually did the right thing for the right reason.”
Wow, Robert Randisi. He really is a big deal. I liked him a lot.
Take a look at his latest book, The Honkey Tonk Big Hoss Boogie. Set in Nashville, it’s gotta be a good read.