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Writing Routine

Everyone has a routine they go through and most are more strict about them than others. My oldest daughter has to do her morning routine IN ORDER or all is lost. If you ask her to brush her teeth before her hair, all hell breaks loose! So I was thinking about writing and how I'm finally in a routine. For ten years, I could not get myself to write because I didn't know how. Now, I have a routine that gets words onto the page when I need them.

Some authors outline heavily in advance. This is something I've never been able to do. I've ever tried to just write out loose beats for a novel, and meh, I cannot do it. I CAN write a blurb ahead of time, but that's about it.

Here's my routine for writing a novel.

  1. Think about it for weeks before even starting a new Scrivener file. I'll make some notes about inspiring ideas in Evernote and dream about the characters in my head, their everyday lives, what they say or do, how they act. I dream about them while sitting at stoplights, emptying the dishwasher, drawing or painting with my kids, brushing my hair or teeth. I like to think A LOT before ever putting words on the page.
  2. I open a Scrivener file, get it all set up, and write. I try to write a scene or a chapter at a time. I set a session word count, but it's more important that I finish a scene or chapter. I try not to edit much as I go. My first draft is usually dialogue and progression of a story, and then my next draft is where I add MORE COWBELL. More descriptions, more feelings, more of my characters.
  3. When I finish a chapter or scene, unless I have the time to work on another one and a clear view of where the story should go next, I stop. Then I spend the next couple of hours dreaming and thinking about what will come next. I don't always have the time to write everyday so if I have something in my head that I MUST get out, I'll put it in Evernote until I'm ready.
  4. Rinse, repeat, until a draft is done.

And that's how I've learned to write! It was hard for me to figure out my path, but eventually I did. Let me know in the comments if you do something similar or radically different.

P.S. I miss those roses already! They were a lovely part of my summer, and I admit that I put them on this post just because they're pretty.

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S. J. Pajonas