Don’t be alarmed if your writing process changes from book to book. As many of you know, I wrote the second half of my first novel, Baby Grand, fast and furiously — 1,000 words a day for six or seven weeks. So, naturally, when it came time to write my current novel, In the Red, I planned on doing it the same way — you know, stick to what works. The plan was to sit my butt in a chair and crank out 1,000 words a day, every day, no exceptions.
And I have. Sort of.
For some reason, I’m finding that the 1Kaday writing process doesn’t seem to be working for this book. Some days I’m on track. Others not so much. Sure, I’m distracted and full of self-doubt, but I was while writing Baby Grand too. That’s not the problem. Things just seem… well, different:
- The music I used to motivate myself while writing Baby Grand doesn’t work this time around. While a song seemed helpful and inspirational two years ago, now I listen and think, This song reminds me of Baby Grand. In fact, it sort of feels like it belongs there. In that world. It would be like asking Bailino to make an appearance in my current work-in-progress.
- With Baby Grand, I wrote often at night. With In the Red, I find that I write more during the day — and I like to write out of the house, particularly at Panera Bread.
- With Baby Grand, I pretty much stuck to a linear process. I wrote the book from beginning to end. Now, I’m all over the place — writing the ending before the middle and then heading back to the beginning.
- The other day, I wrote and wrote and wrote and ended up netting about 200 words, because I had cut a lot out during the process. If this had been Baby Grand, I would have sat there until I had written a net of 1,000 words. This time, though, I felt it was enough to have netted the 200 and, guilt aside, decided to power down until the next day.
With regard to that last point, at first I thought I was just slacking off. But now I’m not so sure. I’m well into In the Red. It seems silly to chastise myself for not sticking to a schedule when whatever it is I AM doing seems to be working: As of this morning, I have about 61,000 words written (227 pages), which somehow I managed to do without my closely monitored 1,000-word-a-day regimen. (Baby Grand was only about 79,000 words when I finished the first draft back in August 2010).
In other words, I’m close, and I’m getting there. And I think in the end that’s all that matters.