As a writer, you routinely get asked a lot of writing related questions. Things like, ‘where do you get your ideas?’ and ‘how do you come up with characters? Are they based on people you know?’ And then there’s my favorite question, ‘what’s your writing routine?’.
My writing routine is, since you ask, to sleep until noon; drink a half-glass of vodka with a splash of orange juice for breakfast; and watch game shows and soap operas all day. Then, maybe, write for a half hour or so; eat some chocolate; brush my teeth, drink the rest of the vodka, and pass out.
Okay. Not really. I don’t always brush my teeth.
But sometimes I feel like a lot of my friends – and even my family – think I don’t, really, do a whole lot every day when I tell them I’m ‘writing.’ But I swear, I’m working. I really am.
I’m usually up by 5 AM during the week. This gives me time to check my emails and catch up with social media, post a book promo, and put my game face (i.e., makeup) on. Then it’s outside to walk the dog – an important start to my day, because it jumps starts my sleep-fogged brain. I sometimes get a good idea while I’m walking; now and then, I even figure out the answer to a plot dilemma that’s been puzzling me.
Back at home, I make coffee. Usually I down a cup of Starbucks House Blend, although anything with caffeine will do. At seven AM it’s time to head upstairs to my tiny half-office under the eaves and sit down in front of my MacBook, open it up, and get to work.
I never (well, not very often) check Facebook or Twitter while I’m writing. It’s too distracting. Exceptions are Mondays, if I’ve posted to Monday Blogs, or days when I (or one of my writer friends) has a cover reveal or book release scheduled. Weekday mornings are reserved for writing and/or editing. Period.
The night before, I draft an opening paragraph or two for the next chapter or scene in my trusty spiral notebook. Otherwise, I tend to sit down the next morning and stare blankly at my Mac, then gaze out the window, then stare once again at my computer screen, thinking ‘duh, what happens next??’
Then…I write. It’s not terribly exciting to anyone unfortunate enough to be watching. My fingers tap, tap, tap the keyboard. I pause now and then to stare vacantly into space. I sip my coffee – ugh, it’s gone cold. I get up, go downstairs, let the dog out, microwave my coffee. Back upstairs, with the dog at my heels, I repeat the process until I’ve hit my daily goal of at least 2,000 words and let out a sigh of relief.
I did it. Now I can reward myself with a tuna fish or PB&J sandwich and an almond biscotti.
Finally, I read over what I’ve written and make note of any corrections or bits of dialogue that don’t sound right, and fix stuff that doesn’t make sense. In a recent scene, for instance, the main character was in two places at once. Okay, that might be fine for a science fiction novel, maybe…but for a modern-day romance? Not so good. Time for a bit of editing…
Deadlines are real and can be brutal. I’ve spent the entire summer – since late April – plotting and writing three books for a new series to be published in January 2016. Two months per book means 10,000 words a week to produce an 80,000-word book. Throw in revisions to the aforementioned three books, as well as three book promotions, three book trailers, and three giveaways, and you’re gonna be pretty busy.
But I wouldn’t have it any other way. (Although sleeping until noon and knocking back champagne mimosas every day doesn’t sound half bad…)