Welcome back to May Collaborations. Today I have my writing and twitter friend Sarina sharing a little insight into her writing routine. I absolutely love her blog and her book so having her on my blog is an absolute honour. I'll leave it to Sarina;
Being asked to write a guest post was beyond exciting. Guest posts are things that other people write, people who know what they're doing because they've been doing it for 100+ years. This is my first one, and because I love Rhianne and her blog I said yes, of course!
I love reading about the routines of other writers, so Rhianne and I decided that I could tell you a little about my own routine. Or rather -routines.
I have two separate routines, depending on whether I'm writing or editing.
When I write...
Plotting and writing the first draft are my favourite parts. Everything is possible, anything can happen, and my characters are slowly waking up and developing their own unique personalities. It's a very exciting stage full of possibilities!
I don't set a specific daily word count goal, but I do set a weekly aim. I'm writing two novels at the moment, each with its own goal.
Every week I'm aiming to write around 10K. I write for roughly one hour every day, and that's a big 'roughly'. Often the words come easily, and I end up writing for more than one hour. Rarely I write for less than that. I do need a break after one hour to ninety minutes of uninterrupted writing, but I applaud those of you who can write for eight hours a day. You must share your secret with me! (Is it devil worship? It's devil worship, isn't it!)
I get up at 7.30am, which allows me to relax a little before I throw myself into work. Since I have a day job like many of you my writing is limited to the mornings - which is fine by me. I'm more creative in the morning and my characters cooperate more with me, whereas at night I could be sleeping, so you can see why my preferences are what they are.
Many of my writing buddies have different playlists for each draft, but I can't write and listen to music at the same time. I get distracted very easily (another reason why I only write in the mornings - when I get home from work my SO is home, too, and the TV is usually on. That's far too many distractions for my mind to cope!) so playing songs I love while I'm trying to focus on something else doesn't work for me.
The only thing I allow to distract me is my cat, CookieBreak's mascot, the Sellybean. She is very affectionate and rather forceful in her affections, so if I try to ignore her she only gets more violent. Cute, but violent.
When I edit...
My editing routine is far less forgiving. I'm very hard on myself when I edit, so sitting down with my draft for one hour a day just doesn't cut it.
I print my entire draft (including the title page with my name on it... I'm vein like that. It just looks so nice printed, you know?) and do the first edit on paper. My mind really appreciates the change in scenery after having stared at the screen for months, and it helps me focus if I can take notes and cross things out with a red pen. There's something about a red pen that makes me feel all powerful, and makes cutting my favourite parts much easier.
I change where I sit, too. I moved away from my desk and sat on our sofa when I edited Rise of the Sparrows, but I'll go outside and sit in our garden when I edit the sequel. It should be summer by then and I freeze too easily to sit outside during winter.
The edit happens all morning. I make a tea, often three or more, and buckle down with the printed draft, my beloved red pen, some highlighters and some sticky notes for potential excerpts. When I edited Rise of the Sparrows the entire prologue, first chapter and part of the second chapter got cut, and I'd like to think that I edit without mercy. Everything I'm not sure about - anything I can't decide whether it should stay or not - dies.
I also make notes of chapters to add later.
Once the first edit is done I take a breather (with yet more tea) and move back to my desk, where I apply all changes to the file. Once that's done I add all chapters, and read over it again.
I know I have a problem with over-editing, and to avoid that I call in beta readers when I've edited three or four times. I don't want to make changes just for the sake of making changes, so handing the draft to someone else is the best thing I can do at that point. I apply their changes, bounce some ideas with my betas, add some chapters if necessary, and then I send my improved draft to my editor.
That's the stage I'm in now as I'm writing this post in March.
I don't mind editing, and even find it enjoyable in a strange, perfectionist, masochistic way, but it does make me miss writing and plotting. By the time the edit is finished and I've passed the draft to my betas I'm more than excited to start plotting again!
And that's my routine! Thank you so much, Rhianne, for having me. I hope you enjoyed this post as much I as enjoy reading them!