A lot of writers I know say to write every day, to form the “habit” of writing…at the same time every day, or at the same place every day, or at least for the same amount of time every day, even if it’s only an hour. Or a half hour. I’ve never been able to work that way.
To begin with, I’m a slow starter. If I don’t have at least an hour just for the warm-up, I’m worthless. If I only have an hour to write, I’m better off not even bothering. And forget doing the five minutes here, five minutes there kind of thing. When I try that, I write dreck. (And, yes, there’s that thing about how dreck works because you can edit it, but you can’t edit nothing at all, but…well, just BUT.)
On the other hand, give me 3-4 hours, or God PLEASE, an entire day to write, and I’m like a wildfire in a windstorm. I can crank out 30-40 pages in a day. Of course, some of it may be dreck, but I can fix dreck. I’m okay with large volumes of dreck. It’s the piss-ant 1-2 LINES of dreck at a time that make me crazy.
So, thus the ONE and ONLY reason my current day job is of benefit to me as a writer, is that for three days a week, I only work from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., and then have the rest of the day to write. This is especially beneficial when the kids are back in school in…checking…HALLELUAH!!…14 days. Once they are back in school, I will have three days a week with about 4.5 to 5 hours of uninterrupted writing time. (Okay, to assume that I will never be interrupted may be a tad optimistic on my part, but I gotta have my dreams.)
One thing I’ve noticed since I began having those three days a week to write, is that the more I write, the more I write. Writing seems to have a cumulative effect for me. If I have only have ten minutes here or fifteen minutes there, I get nothing accomplished because I never actually get back into the story.
But, if I have four HOURS to write, I have time to get into the story (which takes approximately an hour and requires alternately reading the previous day’s work, pausing to check e-mail and read my favorite blogs, and then drifting back into the manuscript until it so captures me I can’t leave again). Once into the story, I’m able to continue writing, putting out a pretty high volume of work.
What’s interesting is that, though I may only have FOUR hours to write without interruption, I am almost always able to get SIX or SEVEN hours of writing done that day. After four hours of writing, I have to pause to go pick up one kid from school, run a few errands, pick the other kid up an hour later on my way home, BUT my brain is still “in the story.” I spent enough time there that I have the ability to pick up right where I left off when I get home again! I may then write for another hour until dinner time, take a break to eat, then dive right back in and write for another few hours until bedtime. It’s like magic! The more I write, the more I write! (If I’m really lucky, this may carry on for several DAYS.)
I had planned on taking a “writing break” yesterday, as the edits for VENUS ENVY have been turned in. (Yay!!) But, my editor e-mailed me yesterday morning asking if I had a 2-3 page synopsis of VENUS ENVY for her to give the Art Director, who will be getting started on the cover soon (pause here to swoon!!). I, of course, didn’t have one. Oh, I had a SIXTEEN page synopsis…that now has absolutely NOTHING to do with the story, since Venus changed so many times throughout the approximately 7 months it took to write it. So, I needed to work up another one. She got 8 pages, which took me 6 hours. So much for my day off from writing.
But, you know what? I’m SO glad I didn’t have that day off. Because I feel like I’m still in the writing mode. Granted, I have to write a new book now and starting a new book is my LEAST favorite part of writing. (The writing of it anyway. The PLOTTING of a new book is one of my favorite parts.) But because I didn’t take a break, I feel like I’m still in the writing mode. I’ll be able to keep going, hopefully on into next week, when I have my long days to write again.
I just need to keep telling myself, the more I write, the more I WRITE.