Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Romantics

So, I'm proud to say that in the past week, I've actually created a new folder on my laptop with the title of my work-in-progress. I then proceeded to type "Chapter One" and wrote an opening paragraph that I am totally in love with, plus a pretty decent first scene introducing my protagonist (and a couple of her colorful co-workers). I've been dying to move this novel beyond the notes stage, so I'm feeling very upbeat right now. How did it happen? One word: Scheduling.

Hubby has a flexible summer schedule, so he and I have divvied up our work hours, which gives me at least three hours most mornings to write. This is how a book gets written. Make coffee, sit in chair, stare out window, write a few lines, check email, watch cardinal in tree, check Twitter, edit lines I just wrote, close out of Internet and vow not to open again until writing quota is met, write a couple awesome paragraphs, read randomly from inspiring novel with similar voice, re-read awesome paragraphs and decide they're not so awesome, briefly doze off, wake up, re-open Internet, write another line.

Please note that when I sit at my computer to write, I am not taking dictation from God, as one famous writer once famously said. That is not to say that there aren't writing sessions that seem inspired, sessions where my fingers can't keep up with my thoughts. Those moments keep me going on the days it takes me three hours to get out a sub-par half page.

When friends ask about my writing process (this is a common question now that I'm starting something new), I think they are expecting something more romantic, some dreamy poet in an attic meditating until I can visualize each scene. The point is, I sit in my chair, every day (or most days) and attempt to reach my goal (1,000 words a day). If I don't reach it during my assigned writing hours, I have to try and squeeze it in later, after dinner maybe or after the kids go to bed. It's surely not romantic. It's work. And any writer with any success (except for the dictation-from-God-one) will tell you this.