I went away on vacation for a week and despite my best intentions and dreams of sitting on the beach and by the pool all day, writing endless reams of inspired prose, I never typed a single word. Never opened my document, as a matter of fact. Not even on those six-hour flights on planes without seatback televisions.
It’s easy to fall out of a habit. My routine is to write in the evenings, usually from 11pm until midnight or thereinabouts. Taking a bit of advice from Stephen King’s On Writing, I go down to the basement, close the door of the family room, get comfy (but not too comfy) and go to work without distractions. And I find I really rely on my closed-door routine. In a smallish Hawaiian condo basically confined to a single room after 9pm (so the kids can sleep undisturbed) I couldn’t make my closed-door process work. And I don’t seem to have the right frame of mind to write during the daytime. So when we came back home, I felt apathetic about writing again, compounded by the fact that I didn’t really like how the scene I was in the middle of was going. Even after a three-hour Higher Ground cafe writing marathon with my partner in novelling, I still wasn’t accomplishing much. Last night I struggled through 250 measly words, and that in an hour and a half.
Tonight I broke through. I like how things are shaping up again, I found myself composing a scene I hadn’t even imagined until I started writing (which are usually my favourite ones) and I’m feeling good about where I’ll pick up tomorrow.
One of my supporting characters, Dex, is reminding me more and more of my brother Dan every scene I put him in. Tonight I laughed out loud at something he said, and I didn’t even know he was going to say it until the dialogue started flowing.
I also hit page 30 in my document, which is kind of a milestone. At 12-pt, single spaced, that’s around 18,000 words, and I added another 1,300 or so tonight. For me that’s a good night. I’m a slow, methodical, everything-right-the-first-time kind of writer. I need to think it all through first. A lot of people say the only way to write is to just spew it all out and revise later, but that’s not me – and explaining that is a post for another day. Tonight I’m happy with my progress and looking forward to what the future brings – even if I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next 20 pages!