Do you have a writing routine?
Mine is fairly simple. It is generally first thing upon awakening, usually around 4 am, when it is dark and quiet. I have a cup of coffee ready (the percolator is on a timer), and my desk is cleaned up. I have to do that the night before. The only thing I usually have on the desk is an outline of what I want to write about (and it is meticulously detailed).
I also conjure up a rainstorm if it is not raining.
I write better with the rain coming down. I find it relaxing, the sound of the water coming down soothing, inspiring.
The outline is soothing, too. It gives me a sense of direction. If I can see the structure in place, it makes me relax, and I can have fun with the writing.
I don’t have a page goal, but I try to write for no more than an hour or 90 minutes at one sitting. I do not allow myself to look at Facebook or check email during this period. I’ve learned that any longer and I’ll start checking my email, or looking at the news; once I get distracted, unfortunately, it is hard for me to get back into a writing groove. Also, after about 90 minutes, I have to stop anyway, because that’s when I have to get children up for school, make lunches, and so forth.
Once I’m done writing for the hour, I set it aside. I don’t look at it for the rest of the day. If I’m on a deadline, that’s different; I’ll schedule review and rewrite times later in the day. But with a long-term project like Emmett’s story, I really don’t want to do a review of a chapter or major section until I have it written down. Even it if is a suck-ass first draft, I want to get that entire draft down.
If I start editing an incomplete draft-in-the works, I’ve found that I will never finish it. It just perpetuates unfinished work and frustration.
I write every single day. On occasion, I will take a day off, but as I think about this book all the time, I like to keep a traditional notebook with me, to jot down ideas or impressions as they come to me.
This is the writing routine that has worked for me so far.
Communication, Arts, and the Humanities
The University of Maryland Global Campus