I recently was thinking about the fact that most author’s have a process. I’m no different. The question I get a lot is how do I make so many pages/day? Well, this blog is me answering that!
The first thing you want to do in preparation for writing is READ. I don’t care what you read, but you gotta. It can be the newspaper or a magazine, or a full-length novel, any novel from YA to epic. As long as you’re feeding your brain, that’s what matters.
Second, is psyche yourself up! I always have to prepare myself, get into the right frame of mind. This might be done by listening to music, watching a specific movie, or even writing a blog (like I’m doing now!). Get in the mood.
Then you want to set an attainable goal. It took me about 5 years to work up to my ten page/day goal. Before that, even a paragraph was gravy, but still a goal. By saying, “I’m going to write X amount of pages today!” you’re, again, psyching yourself up and holding yourself accountable.
Next, sit your butt down and WRITE! I always say that even if the pages are bad, pages made and cut are better than no pages at all. Of course, it’s always easier when the muse shows up, but if you’re planning on making writing your job, you need to write no matter what. She/he will not show up and you’ll still have to make those pages because you’re on a deadline. Books do not write themselves!
Now, I realize I am fortunate enough to write full-time. It has given me the edge I need to understand how my process works–for instance, I know that I write better in the evenings or even at night. I need minimal distractions so that I can immerse myself into the story. This is hard, since I have two kittens at the moment (Ulalume, 9 months, and Vincent, 3.5 months)! They are certainly a handful.
HOWEVER! I try to keep my writing to the day-time, because night time should be for sleeping. Then again, if you can write at night and write better at night, do it. I find that a schedule works best for me though, a little discipline.
Maybe if I show you what my day looks like:
I wake up around 8-9am (depends on when I go to bed the night before. Sleep is also VERY important. You need to rest your mind). I have breakfast & then sit on social media for a bit, catching up on the world. I give myself until about 10am to start psyching myself up. This is when I do what most writers do–I have a cup of coffee! Haha.
If it’s during the day, I put on a movie. Right now, my film of choice is Jurassic Park. I don’t have the sound on, the picture on the TV screen is enough noise to sort of zone out. I then sit my butt down at my desk and open up my Word document (or Wattpad, as that’s what I’m using for SUBMISSIVE TENDENCIES). It’s then that I’ll usually put on some music, something to set the right tone for the pages I’m going to make. Then I write!
I also find that if I write a chapter then print it out (stole that idea from Laurell K. Hamilton!) it gives me something to look back on, if need be, so that I can fix things. I also get my mother to read what I’m writing as I’m writing it. She helps me tweak and fix things before I continue on. Editing as I go is good for keeping the story linear & those pesky plot bunnies at bay.
What about when I’m finished my manuscript, after I type THE END? Well, I go through my printed copy, making notes and marks on it, giving it a nice thorough edit. I then transfer the edits into the Word document. Depending on how many changes were made, I may print out another copy; if it’s just grammar and missed words, I do another edit on the Word document itself.
When I’m happy with my draft, that’s usually it for me. If I had the money, I would hire an excellent editor to go over it, as an outside opinion with fresh eyes does wonders. I’m also trying to find good beta readers as well, but it’s hard because not many of my friends read my genre, which when I think about it, might be good because they would look at it differently…but alas, beta readers are important!
Once I have a polished manuscript, I make up my query letter. I then research what agents are looking for my genre (namely erotic romance/BDSM/thriller) and start querying! This time around, things are a bit different because I’m writing on Wattpad as well.
My process with Wattpad is writing the chapter until I’m satisfied. I then transfer that to the Word document, read it over, do a quick edit, then print out the pages and post the chapter. Once I have SUBMISSIVE TENDENCIES complete, I will be leaving the full up on Wattpad until MONDAY (as I anticipate I’ll be done the story on Friday). I will then be taking down all but two or three chapters, so that I can query agencies with it.
If you’re feeling stressed because you haven’t made your goal, STOP! It’s just a goal–it’s not do or die. And if you don’t like your pages, cut them. If you’re unsure, cut and save them in a separate document. This way, you can go back if you find that it works later in the story.
These are just my own tips and tricks. What works for me, may not work for you. Find what works! For me, sitting at my desk gets pages done. For some, going to a coffee shop gets pages done. Do whatever you need to, to get those words on the page!
Xoxo Annabel Lee.