Rollercoaster Rides

It’s a good metaphor: the writing life is full of ups and downs, as well as being occasionally terrifying, sometimes exhilarating, and feeling largely out of control much of the time.

This week, I’m delighted to say I’m on a breathless whoosh downhill as the words for my brand new WIP pile up.

For once, timings worked out perfectly. I got my ideas planned out in plenty of time. Then Offspring went away for a fortnight with Dad leaving me time to write. The first week I managed 20k words, and I’m on target to reach 40k before O gets back on bank holiday afternoon.

Now, that might not be remarkable for some of you, maybe you write indecently quickly all the time, but it’s absolutely astonishing for me and I’m delighted – particularly since the last book I wrote was like pulling teeth from start to finish.

My formula for writing: computer, timer and tea
Tea, a timer and my netbook – and look at what I’ve achieved (each star = 1k words)!

There are three things I can credit with my sudden productivity (other than bloody-minded determination, which is always there).

  1. I planned this one more carefully than I ever have before so I knew the complete shape of the narrative (rather than sketching out the first third and then hoping for the best).
  2. I wrote brief notes for what was coming up before starting a writing session so I never had to stop and stare into space wondering what was going to happen next.
  3. And I’ve been doing writing sprints. Ordinarily I would say if I have some time to dedicate to writing I can write 1k words in an hour – but getting that unbroken hour is pretty tricky. Instead, I’ve been setting a timer for 20 minutes and getting 500 words written in that time.

This morning, for example, I checked my overall plan on the whiteboard, sketched notes of what was going to happen in the next scene, got my tea (very important) and set the timer. Two 20 minute sessions (breakfast came in between) and I’m 1200 words up.

Like a rollercoaster, I know my mood and feelings about the book are going to go down as well as up, but for now … I’m just enjoying the ride!

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