first draft

Update – Book-in-a-week…in two Months

I said I’d come back here with an update and it’s an update I don’t mind giving.

I did not write six pages per day for five days this week, However, I learned something vital – if you keep writing, you keep writing. Simple, ain’t it? 

The muse, like a muscle, when lazing around too long, turns to mush. It’s harder to get it into top form because each time you start, it’s like starting a new workout routine… or worse, starting to work out for the first time. You have to keep the muscle moving, working, in order for it to reach maximum potential.

After pushing through my first day of real, wrist-numbing writing, I found myself, once again consumed by my story. That’s a good thing. I heard the characters’ voices again. I saw them moving, they way they gestured when they spoke. Their clothes, their environment. The beauty of Book-in–a-week is that you’re immersed in your characters’ world and that makes the writing fluid.

I confess, I broke a couple of huge Book-in-a-Week rules. I re-read my work. A lot. And I stopped to research various locales via Google Maps – Street View. I had to. I’m the kind of writer who winds up preoccupied with story blanks and must fill them in if I’m to move the story forward. It’s okay. It’s my process.

And so, because of my process, I didn’t write six pages per day this week, I wrote four. I’m happy with that. That’s sixteen pages more than I had before – and, if you’re doing the math, then yes, that means I wrote for four days so far. Today will be my fifth. And, for the record, since I write single-spaced pages not double, that’s actually 32 pages in four days so, in fact, I’ve written eight pages per day.

No matter how you look at it, writing daily – in solid blocks or in ten-minute spurts – is the not-so-secret secret to getting the story down. Of course I’ll need to polish, but the ‘story’ is there and as Nora said, “You can’t edit a blank page.”

Speaking of Nora Roberts… I attended a writing lecture about a month ago and heard that Ms. Nora writes her first drafts with just dialogue. Once the chatty bones of her story are down, she goes back into the story to add those details that make Nora’s work so unique.

Why does it matter? Because everyone has their own method. And as my wonderfully wise and encouraging critique partner often says, “Trust your process.”

Onward.

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