People often ask me if I write every day. The answer is no. But I work every day. Every single day.
When you’re a writer, it means everything you in order to produce
a book is A) done alone and B) comes from your brain. There is no curriculum. There are no substitute writes who will drop in and write a chapter or tweak a character because you’re sick. If you take a vacation, in the back of your head is the page count, lying ignored. You can’t help yourself…you have to add a few notes here and there.
You talk to your friends about your characters and their lives. You ask them for input, maybe. You research. You might join a forum or a Reddit thread about people who’ve been in those positions. Maybe you interview someone. You visit the setting, if you’re lucky, and you fill pages with notes to make sure your book will deliver an appropriate and multidimensional representation. You take classes or workshops from time to time. You answer reader mail and post online. You reply to professional emails. You mentor other writers. You’re always editing or promoting the book you last finished.
So it’s a mixed bag of what exactly you’re doing…at least, for me.
But when I hunker down to write the first draft, here’s my routine.
Find a quiet spot (my office, or the upstairs couch, depending on how cold or hot my office is, or our little house on the Cape).
Start a sentence.
Then, hopefully, the writing gods will be good to you. You’ll finish that sentence and write another, or maybe many! You’ll continue until soggy-brain sets in…it might be ten hours, it might be 45 minutes. You decide that you’ve started in the wrong place. You revise. Or you don’t. You just keep blasting through, years of experience telling you this can be fixed later.
When you stop and rejoin humanity, it’s through a Twitter check, or a news check, or a family member who, you vaguely realize, has come in and might be talking to you.
Repeat as many times as possible. J
That’s where I am now, gang…hoping for the writing gods to smile on me. Brain cluttered with details that I’m trying to sift out and sort. Sentences begun and finished. Begun and deleted. Begun and revised.
Wish me luck!