New routine, involving a grindstone…

I have been doing lots and lots of “prewriting” for the new book,Seven Stories Up. I now have pages and pages of dialogue-snippets, plot points, and bits-o-description.   I know what I’m doing and where I’m going. I KNOW my characters at last.

But I do not have a book.

A month ago, I had a good-sized beginning of a book, but there was something off about the voice, something hollow.  I was afraid to continue writing without getting that issue hammered out.  So I scrapped the whole thing.

For the last month I’ve gone to bed each night and “had a conversation” with Annie, my main character.  Finally she’s started talking back to me. I can hear her now.

But as amazing as my editor is, she will not be able to hear that voice unless I write it down for her.  No matter how complete my outline. No matter how copious my notes.

So I’m now on a thousand-word-a-day schedule.  Which I loathe. Not because it’s a lot (it isn’t) but because I like to twiddle my thumbs and mull, work in fits and starts.  Take breaks.

But I can’t afford that now. Not with 15 hours of childcare a week.

Last time I did this kind of fast draft, I set out to do 2,000 words a day, and ended up sprinting too fast, rewriting half the book after I finished.  So this time I’m chopping my daily requirement in half, and hoping that will allow me a more human pace.

Today, I sort out the notes.

Today, I start over.

Wish me luck! Hold me accountable.

3 Responses to “New routine, involving a grindstone…”

  1. Kathy Says:


    You reach your goal by the time you come visit me in May I will take you out for a milkshake :)

  2. Kelly Barnhill Says:

    It’s unfortunate that editorial schedules and family schedules and personal schedules – not to mention the central, organic heartbeat-schedule of the book’s own life-cycle – so rarely match up. I like to mull and play and fuss and imagine – sometime for months – before I ever put pen to paper. And then, I’m exclusively longhand before I ever touch the computer. But only for books. Short stories I can write on deadline and in a single sitting. But books need to sit on my heart for a while before they can start moving.

    I think cutting your word count goal in half was the right call. Good luck on the next phase! (and I love the title, btw.)

  3. Darsa Says:

    “I now have pages and pages of dialogue-snippets, plot points, and bits-o-description.”

    99%* of “writers” never get past this point. You have… *several* times. AND those books were published and much-lauded. You know how to do it and you will.

    *I made this statistic up, but it *feels* very accurate.

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