Right now, I don’t have a standardized writing process. What I have is a mashed-together mess of a process that sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t, but is generally providing gradual forward progress on my book. Except for the last week or so, and random intervals of time scattered over the last nine or ten months.
Here’s my writing process as it stands right now: Every moment I don’t have free, I think about my writing. Every moment I do have free, I think, “Gee, I should probably be writing right now.” On a “good” day, I get a couple of hours of writing done. On a “bad” day, my dwarf fortress shows marked improvement. I think there might be a connection back there somewhere.
Scheduling writing time worked great for me for a while, but it’s been running into some annoying problems lately. You know the type: the ones that you know you should have expected, that you kind of did expect in the back of your mind, but that you set aside as basically unimportant.
In this case, it’s rescheduling. I understand that I need to be able to reschedule my writing time, sometimes cancel it altogether. Heck — half the appeal of being a full-time writer is setting my own schedule, and letting it be fluid (or designing it so it doesn’t generally need to be). Trouble is, sometimes stuff comes up that makes it hard to stick to that rescheduling. Like dwarf fortress. It’s a lot easier to stick to the original “I’m writing at 3,” possibly because at 5 I’m thinking, “Oh, I’ve already rescheduled it once today, another hour won’t hurt.” Of course, it’s important stuff pushing my writing time around. Yesterday a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time dropped by, and we hung out for a few hours. Today we got a surprise call we’d been waiting for for weeks and spent the day on a scavenger hunt for all the stuff needed for health insurance, checking out the car we’re getting in the process, and topped it off with hanging out with a different friend we hadn’t seen in a while. All important stuff.
And then there are the days I sit down and write two thousand words. (Jay Lake, it should be noted, writes something like 4K a day regularly, over the course of two hours, when he’s on his rough drafts. I don’t know how he does it.) Thing is, I love writing. I really do. And I don’t feel that Dwarf Fortress, or random visits from friends, are what’s really contributing to my writer’s block right now. The first is a symptom (I don’t know what to write, I’ll go consign some dwarves to their doom); the second is just a random happy occurrence that happens to interrupt my staring-at-the-screen time.
My writer’s block comes because I’ve waited entirely to long to make some important decisions about Derelict. Such as which ending, exactly, to use. Such as how much the story is a space opera, and how much it’s a fantasy in space. (The two are pretty similar, but the difference is in how I look at it.) Such as how telekinesis actually works (which might or might not be important to this story, but will definitely be important in the sequel, and I don’t want to lay the wrong foundation.)
The irony is, I’ve written over five hundred words on this blog post, and I’m only really aiming at a thousand a day on Derelict. Well. We’ll see how it goes.
Current music: The High Court, Whisper to the Clouds (via Pandora).