I did something unbelieveable today. Something I didn’t think possible.

I went off-line for five hours.

I wrote for five hours without once jumping onto tumblr, Io9, facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

I wrote for five hours without constantly checking my email.

I wrote for five hours without distraction and in that five hours I wrote…wait for it….SIX-THOUSAND, EIGHT HUNDRED AND ELEVEN WORDS!!!

I haven’t written that many words since Triple Dare (I wrote over eight thousand in one five hour session back then).

It was hard at first. It really was. I left my laptop and mobile phone upstairs and didn’t open Safari on my desktop. I usually write in my office with my laptop open beside me where I can twist and check any of the above listed things, while ALSO having Safari open on my desktop along with Yahoo IM aaaand Messages. I usually check any of the above the moment I find a sentence hard to start/finish/think about. It’s become a habit. A bad one. When I first started writing so many years ago, I had a pen and a notebook and I would write and write and write until the pen ran out of ink or the notebook ran out of pages. The only distraction I had was when I had to get a new bikkie from the biscuit tin (remember I started writing when I was six *grin*). Of late, writing has almost become the distraction to surfing the net, Tweeting, Pinteresting or facebooking. It has been, to be honest, worrying me.

So it seemed Fate was telling me something when I read THIS quote from Stephen King on Tumblr (*sigh* I love Tumblr *sigh* I love Stephen King*)

“Never look at a reference book while doing a first draft. You want to write a story? Fine. Put away your dictionary, your encyclopedias, your World Almanac, and your thesaurus. Better yet, throw your thesaurus into the wastebasket. The only things creepier than a thesaurus are those little paperbacks college students too lazy to read the assigned novels buy around exam time. Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule. You think you might have misspelled a word? O.K., so here is your choice: either look it up in the dictionary, thereby making sure you have it right – and breaking your train of thought and the writer’s trance in the bargain – or just spell it phonetically and correct it later. Why not? Did you think it was going to go somewhere? And if you need to know the largest city in Brazil and you find you don’t have it in your head, why not write in Miami, or Cleveland? You can check it … but later. When you sit down to write, write. Don’t do anything else except go to the bathroom, and only do that if it absolutely cannot be put off.”

This quote was, for me, like a kick in the head. Especially this line:
“…When you sit down to write, write. Don’t do anything else except go to the bathroom, and only do that if it absolutely cannot be put off.”
I’ve re-read that line over and over again. I’ve read it three times in writing this post. It is a profound line and if I ever met Stephen King in person I would thank him for that line and offer to send him a lifetime of Tim Tams for that line. That line changed everything for me.
And today was the first day of change.
I walked down into my office, leaving my distracting laptop and iPhone upstairs. I took a litre bottle of filtered water, a cup of coffee (only one, because I DID NOT want to stop writing to go to the loo) and an apple. I opened iTunes, selected an appropriate playlist (a combination of Mumford and Sons, Mark Knoffler and Train) and I wrote.
For the first fifteen minutes, every time I paused, I found myself wanting to turn to my right to check something completly distracting on my laptop. I couldn’t. It wasn’t there. I even considered opening Safari. I didn’t. I wrote.
And I wrote.
And I wrote.
And at 2:55pm when I had to stop and collect Peanut from school and the Demon Princess from preschool, I discovered I’d written 6,811 words. I am still in shock. But damn, did it feel good. No, that’s wrong. It felt AMAZING!! It felt like writing used to feel. It flowed out of me.
I really can’t explain how fantastic it was. Suffice to say, I’m going off-line tomorrow. Fingers crossed today wasn’t just a fluke. I need to finish Misplaced Hands by Wednesday and I’ve got a chapter and a half to go. And more importantly, I neeeed to feel that rush of writing like I did today. Really writing. It was amazing.