How I write: A Journal

I thought I would try something different this month.  I was reading one of my favorite writer blogs, Dean Wesley Smith, and he wrote about his process of writing a 70,000 word novel in a WEEK.

That’s right,  I said WEEK.

A book in a week? OMG How? I can’t even…what. !??!

If you are a fellow writer or are just curious about the process of a professional writer – check out his amazing blog.

So, I’d been planning on writing another novel in May anyway, but I never thought about keeping a journal during the process.  I’m not pretending it will be interesting to most people, but I think it might help me keep motivated and focused.  Plus, it might be interesting to see how a normal person with kids and daily responsibilities can still find time to write.  I’m hoping  it’ll be inspirational to some of you who have that book inside of you, but are wondering how to not only get started, but finish the darn thing.

Also, before I continue, let me first say that I plot out my novels in a really rough outline.  A lot of writers don’t plot out their books (Stephen King, for the most famous example) and that’s awesome and I wish I could do that, but I need guideposts along the way.  It’s what works best for me but I’m in no way saying everyone should use the same process.  Experiment and find what works best for you.

And, not only do I plot, but I usually do a sloppy bullet point list of scenes per chapter with a little description of the action for the scene.  I’ve found that I don’t necessarily follow the bullet points, but the security of having them there frees up my creative process. I guess it’s my security blankie.  😛

For some authors, planning ahead kills their creative process.  Strange how we’re all different, isn’t it?

So, I’ve already completed my first day of writing this novel and here’s how my day went!

Day 1:

  • 7:30 amMade kids breakfast and lunches, got them ready for school, drank a giant glass of water with lemon and drove kids to school
  • 9:00 amPaid bills, made coffee, ate some breakfast
  • 9:35 am  Came up with names for characters and started writing
  • 10:50 am Off to a great start so far.  Wrote 1,000 words.  So far, so good!  Now to catch up on morning devotions which I forgot to do earlier, and clean up back yard for mowing.  (we have a dog.)
  • 11:15 amSmall internet break before picking up daughter from kindergarten.  From there go shopping, get home, make lunch then mow lawn.
  • 1:45 pmFinally home from shopping.  I actually went shopping, filled up the cart and realized I brought the wrong credit card to the store.  I tried out other card but it didn’t work.  Really embarrassing leaving the store without the groceries.  But, take daughter home, feed her and head back to store with the right card.  disappointed I wasted an hour because I didn’t take 30 seconds to check my wallet.  Mowing lawn now.  
  • 3:00 pmSitting down for lunch & internet break.  Cucumber sandwiches seem to be my go to lunch these days. Saw a nice frosty can of diet coke in the fridge and actually managed to pass it up for water.  Very proud moment for me! (I’ve been trying to kick my diet coke habit for years)
  • 3:30 pmBack to writing. Added 300 words.  Total now 1,300.
  • 3:50 pm –  Pick up son from bus-stop.
  • 4:15 pmSuddenly run out of steam.  Take a 20 minute nap while kids watch T.V. 
  • 4:45 pmCouldn’t sleep because my hip was bothering me, but closing my eyes and laying down refreshed me a bit.  Took Advil for hip pain.
  • 5:15Wrote another 300 hundred words.  Total now 1,600.  Checking out news before making dinner.  Thankfully, daughter gets to pick dinner tonight and chose eggs, toast and fruit salad.  Yay for easy dinner!
  • 7:20 pmAfter dinner, hung out with hubby and daughter while son was at church youth group.  Read and played video games with daughter before sitting down to write for 15 min before picking up son.
  • 7:55 pmWrote 600 more words. Total is now 2,232.  Leaving to pick up son.
  • 8:25 pmPutting kids to bed.  Wrote a few more sentences before finally calling it a night on my book.  Total is now 2,297.  Now for a little video game time (Fallout: Vegas) and to bed.

So far, this was an exceptionally good first day.  (Nothing compared to the great Dean Wesely Smith, I know!)

Normally, when I’m focused, 1,000 words a day is a good day for me.  But for my goal, to finish this story by the end of May, I need to put in about 1,8000 words a day.  I know that some days are going to be better than others, and then there’s the dreaded ‘middle’ of the book that I really hate but just have to push through.  But, for now, I’m celebrating a great start!




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