I’ve started a new writing regime. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to figure this out, but I highly recommend trying it.
Before I explain my process, I’ll list the most common problems I’ve found with writing, as someone fortunate enough to write full time.
– Not enough creativity
– Burning out
– not loving\understanding my story enough
– Not editing enough
– Not being ready to write a new book when I’m finished with the last
My process used to be writing 4,000 to 6,000 words a day until I finished the rough draft. If I wasn’t right drafting, I’d edit, or I’d daydream through the nuances of a new plot. I’d burn out rough drafting and the quality of my work would deteriorate. I’d spend a lot of time just wasting time. My average, as a full time middle grade and young adult author, was four books a year.
I did the math. If I write 1,500 words a day, which would keep me from burning out, getting sick of, or getting sloppy with a manuscript–I’d stay up close and personal to my protagonist– then I’d have 390,000 words written every year. In my genre, that’s 7 books. A lot of those words will be rewrite, but I’ve already been blown away by the precision and quality of my rough drafts. I have a lot less to rewrite, because I’m writing from a full, up close heart and imagination. I’m not doing too much.
In addition to the words, I edit five pages a day. Five. Five pages. I used to do 45 and I hated my life by the end of every session. But five is all I need to get my words edited at the same pace.
All of that together? That’s 1.75 hours for me. Everyone has that much free time, no matter what your job is. Did your possibilities explode? Even with epic fantasy, that’s three novels a year.
How do you ensure you’ll like what you’re committing to, though? Well, if you’re a discovery writer, you’ll spend a lot of those words on the same novel, rewriting. I plot very carefully. I make sure the desire\satisfaction (especially regarding the climax/crisis) is properly outlined, the characters are properly developed, and that I LOVE the book. I need to long to hang out in it before I know it’s worth writing. (If I wrote horror, I doubt that’d be true. 😉 )
So then, I commit to daydreaming through future plots. I ask myself what I want to feel and how I want to change as my protagonist, and I work that into a rich world I want to hang out in. That’s easy. That’s daydream time. I scribble and scribble until I have structure. I balance and analyze that structure until it’s perfect, or I make sure I figure out enough about the book’s heart to discover as I go. Going this pace ensures I discover richly and vibrantly.
And so, in an insanely light daily work load (which keeps your creativity stores high; never underestimate the power of not over-writing) I can write 5 books a year. Even if you have a full time job, the more you practice this, the faster you’ll get: I guarantee you can work your way to accomplishing this easily. Edit the draft of an old book as you write a new one, and dream new projects in the afternoons.
Be like your best protagonists, and be proactive; there’s always a way to make life work.