Lee Davy continues his confessions series by trying to the answer the question, ‘How is it possible to write so much?’ by introducing people to the three sirs.
How do you write so much?
A question that I am asked with increasing regularity, and one that I will answer by introducing you to the three sirs.
But before I do that, what volume actually constitutes ‘so much?’
I write, on average, over 25,000 words per week. If that means nothing to you, then consider that I could churn out a novel in just over a fortnight.
How is this possible?
Where do I get all of the ideas?
It’s time to meet the three sirs.
If you want to become a competent writer then you have to read a lot. I took a vow, a long time ago, that I would read purely non-fiction because I wanted to learn as much about life as I could whilst enjoying one of my favorite pastimes.
I don’t advocate this advice anymore.
I now understand that sterile non-fiction writing is like masturbating when you’re not in the mood. You keep hammering away and when the end finally comes you have nothing to show for it except for some missing skin.
Unless you are writing a news story, such as, ‘Ryan Riess wins the $10,000 World Series of Poker Main Event,’ then everything you write should feel like a story.
So reading fiction, or watching a lot of great television (think Breaking Bad and not Jerry Springer), is only going to create greater empathy with good story.
But what if I don’t like to read?
Then you have no business writing.
My favorite poker writer is Nolan Dalla. Is it any coincidence that I love his writing because he is a storyteller?
Two years ago I vowed to read one book a week for 52 weeks. The experience improved my writing tenfold. I am not at that pace at the moment, but I am still churning out 35-40 books per year, and that’s nothing compared to some folk.
It’s not just books that you should read (fiction or non fiction), but you should also read the newspaper, online articles, advertisements, and the graffiti you find scrawled on toilet walls in shit stained finger work.
Do you like my work?
Then read more of it and plagiarize the shit out of it.
Because you should write about whatever turns you on.
If I turn you on, then isn’t that what reading is all about?
Get to it.
Turn someone on.
It’s such a hackneyed saying but writing is just like riding a bike.
The more practice you put into it the more stable you become.
And why wouldn’t you want to write with the savage speed of a teenager having sex. If you love what you do then why would you ever want to stop?
My ex wife bought my son Jude a keyboard over a year ago now. He was so excited when I went around to see him. He would sit by this thing and play me his tunes all the time waiting for the parental approval that all kids yearn for.
His grades in music surpassed anything else that he did.
Those marks have continued and in his recent report his teacher lauded praise on him for playing the keyboard in front of the entire class.
He rang me the other day to ask me if I wanted to buy his keyboard. He needed the money to buy virtual footballers on FIFA 14.
It doesn’t matter how good he is at playing the keyboard. As soon as he asked me to buy it I knew that a life in the music industry was not for him. At least not in the immediacy of his life. It doesn’t matter how good you are at something. What matters is how much you love what you do?
I imagine the great pianists in the world are forever playing with their organ. I have no doubt that my own little pianist regularly plays with his too, but not in the same sense if you get my drift.
The point I am trying to make is you have to love what you do, but at the same time, force the occasional dry shit out of the poophole.
Stephen King makes the point far more eloquently than my poophole metaphor when he says, “I can write in cold blood if I have to, but I like it best when it’s fresh and almost too hot to handle.”
When I write a news story then I am writing in cold blood, as is Jude when he plays a song to his class. When I get into these sorts of things, however, then I hope I generate a little more heat. These are the contents of my mind, so I sincerely hope there is some blood red warmth to the words.
When I created my first-ever blog I decided to write a blog post every day. For the next 125-days I achieved my goal. When I got divorced I ripped that blog down because it was upsetting my ex wife, which is another aspect of writing that you just have to get used to if you want to be successful.
If you worry about pissing people off then you might as well use that pen for picking bogies out of your nose.
When I created my blog for helping people with addictions I started by writing 100-consecutive blog posts.
Both of these goals were easy to complete. I never once struggled for ideas. I was reading so much that ideas were constantly popping into my head. You have to get that shit down onto paper before you forget about it, because there is a lot of shit that wants to enter your head.
Reading awakens that creative little genius inside of you.
The one named Muse.
When you feel her arms stretching wide, get the fingers ready, because they are going to start tapping.
I am writing this on the train on the way back from accompanying my wife to Heathrow Airport. We always pack a lot of food for our airport trips and then completely waste it by buying better food from Marks and Spencers.
Today, I had an extra surprise.
Liza had bought some cherries.
“They cost me four quid!” Said Liza.
She is turning more British each and every day.
As I bit into a £4 cherry the juice spurted onto my white Adidas tracksuit.
“Don’t touch it.” Said Liza.
“When you get home put baking soda on it.”
What a genius.
Whilst day dreaming in front of the mirror in the airport toilet I looked at the cherry stain and decided I wasn’t going to fix it after all. It was a slight imperfection on an otherwise perfect top. It got me thinking about the drive to be perfect. To be the best father; the best husband; the best writer; the best coach, the best mother fucking everything.
In future, when I look in the mirror and see my cherry stain, it will provoke a memory. I will see Liza’s smile, I will remember her telling me how she loved me ‘so freakin’ much’; I will remember that biting into a cherry is not a great idea when I have my mouth open; but most importantly it acts as a reminder to learn from my mistakes and make a correction in order to not repeat that mistake in the future.
I can now write about this because it’s a great metaphor for people who are struggling with their own imperfections in life. Perhaps, even you. The writer who believes that their style is off, their grammar is not quite good enough, and their muse is blind, death and dumb.
Poker is a great metaphor for life.
Each poker story, hand, bad beat, scandal and player mirrors something in life.
Think about it.
Write about it.
Then perhaps someone will read about it?