Wednesday, February 11, 2015

How Joss Whedon Gets Stuff Done

daffodils, castle
Photo by Dave Morris

This week I worked on my query (yes, more). I revised my novel based on some reader feedback. I researched agents, looking for the best way to appeal to them via query (I've already made a list of agents I want to query and in what order). And I worked on a pretty painting. It's of daffodils, and its sort of van Gogh inspired. When it's finished I intend to share. However, it is not yet done.

None of the above makes a terribly interesting blog post, so I skimmed over my saved drafts and found this link to an article about Joss Whedon's creative process. If you do not wish to read it, I shall summarize it below. (With bullet points!)

Victorious Joss Whedon
Joss Whedon from Ken Conley

Joss Whedon does a ton of stuff at once. Firefly was written during a break from Buffy. He made a Much Ado About Nothing movie with his friends while in post-production with The Avengers.

I don't think everyone can work that way. I'm not sure I can. But here is:

How To Be Crazy Productive, According to Joss Whedon

  • After deciding what you need to work on, work on what you want to work on (aka whatever's fun from your To Do List).
    • (Note: "it’s so easy to just get nothing done". I enjoyed this quote.)
    • He doesn't write chronologically.
    • When you piece the fun stuff together, you'll have something you already love. And when you're at that not-fun stage, you're almost done!
  • Be specific. Decide on a certain element you're going to work on so, you know, you actually do the work.
  • He rewards himself - for pretty much everything. Usually with chocolate. "I mean I’m terrible. I don’t put that on the list because that’s not advice. That’s something I’m seeking help for. It’s a vice and it’s different than advice."
  • Read. Write. "Fill the tanks." Another quote says it better than I can. "Constantly watch things and things you don’t [normally watch]. Step outside your viewing zone, your reading zone. It’s all fodder but if you only take from one thing then it’ll show."
  • For him, hanging out with friends is better if you're making something. No wonder he churns out so much stuff!
    • He turned a gathering of friends into a Shakespeare production.
    • "I was never a games night guy, but at some point social interaction starts to freak me out. So when there’s a point, it’s easier for me to see the people I love and hang out and try to have fun."
  • Embrace tough love. He wants people who will push him in his life. People who will say, "Stop talking about it. Do it." (That last isn't a quote. It's my summary.)
I'm pretty sure the article sums up nicely with the Nike slogan: "Just do it." Which is not exactly an option for all of us, but I still had fun reading about it.

colorful Chinese dragon
Photo by miheco


  1. So glad you posted that bit about how Joss Whedon works. Great advice! I especially love the bit about skipping to the fun stuff and filling in the boring bits later. The best is when you get to those bits and discover you don't even need them after all. :-D

    Good luck with querying!

    1. Thanks! I've actually been working on a whole new query....

      I think I'm a little sad I'm not as productive as Joss Whedon, but his methods are definitely enlightening. And maybe a little crazy. I personally need a break sometimes!