Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tales of AIC

AIC stands for "Ass in Chair," as in "get your ass in the chair and write." It's the numero uno piece of advice for aspiring writers. It means put AIC when you don't feel like it, when you're just not inspired, when you've had a hard day at work, when there's a really good rerun of "The Office" on, or whatever.

Thus, a new category of posts which I'm calling "Tales of AIC." These are stories of writers who've put up with serious obstacles to their writing, obstacles that are a lot more than "just not feeling inspired," then put AIC and did it anyway. Since I confess I have not always followed this advice, these stories are as much for my own inspiration and edification as for yours.

Our first tale of AIC comes from SF writer Michael Z. Williamson, via John Scalzi's excellent blog Whatever . Williamson talks about the writing of his book CONTACT WITH CHAOS:
As to writing it…I had some personal issues at home, including a pending deployment .... then I deployed, (ever tried writing a novel at the end of 12-15 hour shifts 6 days a week in a war zone, with one day off to do laundry, clean gear…oh, and respond to the occasional disaster that knocks base power down and requires all engineer personnel to report in? With a roommate with very annoying habits in a tiny room in what’s effectively a doublewide trailer with 30 NCOs in it, in 126 degree heat, with sandstorms, and very intermittent internet connections due to sandstorms, and very limited wireless because of the risk of interfering with air ops? Don’t answer that, it’s rhetorical), then I came back, and then I had, and still have, service connected illness…but at the time, all I knew was that I was waking up gasping, hacking up my lungs until I choked, then kicking into an asthmatic reaction, then clogging up, then crashing asleep for two hours, then repeating.

I don’t recommend this as either a motivation to write, a good way to write, nor even as a character building exercise.

Still, somehow I got it written, and while it’s not the best I’ve done, I think I pulled the big idea off well enough.
Well, I know I'll think twice before complaining about being too tired to write again.


Elliot Grace said...

I've come to realize over time that no matter how trying my day's events may have been, if I fail at finding any time to work on my current project before bed...that project will work on me. An hour or so after drifting off, I awaken with a re-newed sense of urgency, and find myself squinting in front of my bright computer screen throughout the witching hour. While I may have yet to secure an accomplished agent, a major book deal, and am actually considering an offer from a smaller publishing house promising to stock the local least I'm getting plenty of work done. Love your blog JD...

JD Rhoades said...

Thanks, Elliot! Keep at it...

David Terrenoire said...

Jesus, I feel like such a pussy.

Tonight, 500 words.