Welcome to day one of my online writing diary!
Although I’m not sure exactly how frequent this will be, I’m shooting for daily. This seems like a good way to keep you guys in the loop with what I’m working on and how I go about it, whether you’re one of my readers or you’re another author, curious for a glimpse into someone else’s writing routine (or lack thereof).
Woke up, got out of bed, and did a variety of activities that weren’t writing, including:
- checking sales stats on all retailers
- replying to email
- watching one of Joanna Penn’s videos on YouTube on how to make a living as an author – I watch videos like this all the time, and they basically come down to ‘write more books’. Which is what I know I should do rather than watch this video.
- ate tofu ‘chicken’ noodle soup
- opened the Word doc containing my current WIP. Minimised it.
- checked my sales rank on iBooks. This was exciting, though – Losing Your Head is number three in its category! Look, proof:
- decided to bake a cake. Generally I don’t like cakes (I know, I know) and I like chocolate cakes even less (I KNOW), but I’ve finally hit on a chocolate mocha cake recipe that makes my tastebuds sing, and I bake it a little too often.
- listened to Monica Leonelle’s Write Better, Faster while baking the cake, and got up to a part where she’d kept an online diary of her writing habits. I got inspired and sat down to start this post!
Now here we are at 4.15, and I’m writing up this post for you. There are loads of things I want to talk about, but for today I figure I’ll start by telling you that at the moment I’m working on four different books concurrently.
And OH MY GOODNESS is working on several projects at once better than focussing on just the one.
Up until now I’ve mostly just concentrated on writing the next book I’m going to release ad nauseam until I can no longer stand the manuscript and I get an eye twitch every time I think about it. (To be fair, though, that’s usually only when I get to the editing phase.) But recently I’ve realised that’s kind of ridiculous for a lot of reasons.
Firstly, writing is meant to be fun. If it’s not fun, then you might as well just get a day job. (Or a night job – that would kind of suit my body clock better.)
Secondly, why am I forcing myself to work on a certain creative product if I’m just not feeling it? It’s not like I’m going to be cranking out my best work if I don’t want to be writing that book right at that moment. Being able to pick and choose what to work on makes writing so much more appealing.
Thirdly, I have a short attention span. I find it really easy to get 1000 words written on a project in one go. 1000 words is nothing for me. I’ve found recently that by swapping between my projects, I can often get 4000 words done in a day without breaking a sweat. All of my works in progress are so vastly different that my brain doesn’t realise that it’s already been writing for hours by the time I get up to the last manuscript. I don’t burn out. In fact, I’m often shocked by just how many words I’ve written by the end of the day. Also, since I have started outlining all my novels before trying to write them (after the trauma of Graceless and the Ten-thousand Rewrites), I can jump to whatever scene calls to me at a particular time.
Rather than avoid my computer and get no words done when I’m sick of/stuck on a certain novel, I’m getting words done and getting ever closer to publishing four novels rather than just one.
OK, it’s now 4.30 and I’ve written nearly 700 words on this blog post but none on my novels, so I’m going to go and attempt to rectify that.
What I’m working on
First up today I’m working on a novel that doesn’t have a title yet but for the purpose of this blog I will call Rosie. It’s my first foray into the romance genre and I’m surprised by how much I’m enjoying writing it. I shouldn’t be surprised, though – my romantic storylines in my other books are often my favourite parts to write. This book makes a fun change from what I’m used to writing and I’ve found that without such a hectic plot as my other books, I’m really taking more time to describe the settings and build the world up. It’s still written in a similar voice to my other books, which means it’s a comedic romance, but it’s just got a little more detail. I think I’m paying more attention to my word choice than I would with my other series.
Things that help me to write
Music: I’ve been listening to a Late Night Jazz mix on Apple Music while I’m writing Rosie and that’s really helping create a certain tone in the novel. Plus I love listening to this style of music, so it’s extra incentive to write. I make a point of making playlists for all of my novels to get me in the right headspace to write, to block out background noise/distractions and to make me type faster. It works.
Pinterest: Another thing I’ve found really helpful for figuring out the tone I want and for inspiring me is creating a board on Pinterest to pin pictures and articles that have a certain mood or relevance to the story. If ever I feel ‘blocked’ or uninspired, I scroll through my WIP’s board and maybe my homepage to pin a couple of new things, after which my interest is generally renewed and I can jump back into writing.
Wine: OK, so this might seem a little controversial but let me tell you, when you’re relaxed (and maybe a little bit tipsy) the words just flow from your fingers. As much as I love tea/coffee/lemon water, nothing gets me quite so relaxed and creative as a glass of Yalumba Sauvignon Blanc (from a cask, admittedly, because I am just a poor, struggling artist). Plus it’s like a reward for sitting down to do my work. Yes, I’m aware that it’s beginning to sound like I have a problem. Shh.
Not going to lie, I cheated on the word count a little today. Back when I was in Vegas (brag brag brag), I got into a really good habit of writing stuff on my phone first thing in the morning and while I was waiting in line for my coffee. During that time, I got about 1000 words of Rosie written, and today I copied and pasted that into my master document. I know it doesn’t really count, but seeing the word count go up is still super motivating.
It’s 9.45 and I’m still yet to do any real writing other than this blog post. This isn’t unusual – I tend to do most of my writing quite late in the night, at least lately. So far today I have been doing a little bit of marketing stuff – adding some new chapters on Wattpad and replying to readers’ comments, updating my Facebook and Twitter banners to show off my new book and, uh, doing some research… OK, OK, I was watching TV.
OK, now it’s 11 p.m. and I’ve written for about 15 minutes since last time I spoke to you. Oh dear. Sometimes I get so anxious about all the work I have to do that I start stalking people I sort of knew in high school on Twitter instead of writing books.
It’s not that I don’t want to write. I do. I love writing. I love having written. And I need to get a fuckload (metric measurement) of work done if I don’t want to have to get another day job any time soon. The anxiety makes writing hard, though. It’s totally illogical, I know – doing something is a much better tactic for success than not doing something.
OK, time to freshen up my wineglass, put on the headphones and listen to some smooth jazz vocals while I make up for all the procrastinating I’ve done so far today.
Right, we’ve hit midnight and I’ve finally done some work for the day. I think I’ve written around 800 words on this project for today, plus the 1000+ words I copied over from the other document (I’m counting it, shhhh), plus the over 1500 words on this post. Not my best day on record, but it’s something. At least it gives me something to improve on tomorrow!
- Try to get in 10 minutes of writing early in the day – preferably first thing. Of course by ‘early’ I mean ‘before lunch’. This way I’m hoping my brain gets into creative mode early in the day and it leads to a more productive day overall.
- Dictation. My joints are starting to ache. My current desk is really not ideal, I know. My current desk is my lap while I lie on the couch. Not even close to a proper workstation. I think my arms (wrists and elbows) need a break, so I plan to try dictating again soon. That should also help with increasing my word count as well as tricking myself into working. (Talking just doesn’t feel like really working, you know?) So I’ll let you know how that goes.
- Work on my other books. Despite writing above that I’m working on a bunch of projects at once, I mostly just focussed on the one today. I think I’m more productive when I skip around more.
- Add more detail to my Rosie outline. Even though I’m really excited for this series and I want to write it, I found myself procrastinating a lot today and not writing as fast as usual. I definitely need to work out the plot in more detail so I can get it written more efficiently.
Blog Word Count: 1719
Rosie Word Count: 2243
If you’d like to try some of my writing for free, you can head to my Free Stuff page to grab Short Fuse and some exclusive content!
Did you enjoy this post? If you’re also an author, let me know what your writing habits look like! Do you just stick to one project? Do you also have a problem with procrastibaking?