January marks the beginning of my writing year with a work in progress born from the manuscript I’d written at the beginning of 2011. Yes, the one you read about in my 2011 in Review post. In my post explaining why I didn’t participate during NaNo last year, I challenged myself to write six novels this year. I know how crazy that sounds, but I’m sure there are many writers out there capable of this feat. I’ll certainly try to accomplish this goal. Six novels mean a novel every other mouth. And I calculated it this way: the writing months will be January, March, May, July, September, and November. The months after every writing month will be spent editing and preparing for the next novel to be written and devouring as many novels as I can (the last point I will explain shortly).
I’d say I’m off to a good start. I drove myself to my favorite coffee shop and, amidst the rush of so many people, managed to bang out two chapters. This means I’m already ahead of schedule. I promised I wouldn’t worry about the story too much, letting my character take me where he wants to go. Plus, the kinks can always be worked out during editing. As long as the story makes itself on the page, I have something to work with. I find that writing a chapter or two a day every day for a whole month is a formula that works with me. I have no time to procrastinate and definitely no chance to worry about plotting. When I wrote Impulse, I tested out this formula for the first time last year in June. Let’s see if I can keep it up this year for six alternating months.
Besides this formula, I’ve discovered another thing that worked for me while I’m writing: not reading anything during my stay in the writing cave. I know I’ve said before that reading is a great way to learn how to write, but I’ve realized reading while you’re creating your own story has the tendency to influence your writing. Not that you’re copying the story, but maybe the style of writing rubs off on you or the narrative or the way a character acts. There are so many influences that can subconsciously make in onto your pages without you intending them to be there. So, I’ve put off reading anything this January, or at least until I finish writing my latest WIP. With the rate I’m going, I might be finished before the month is over, but I don’t want to count my chapters before they are written. Anything can happen. Delays have the tendency to pop up when I least expect them. But I will try to stick to my schedule as much as possible.
Of course, this ban on reading doesn’t last into the editing phase. While editing, I start reading again. It’s a good way to unwind. It also allows me to take a step away from the work as a writer and look at it critically as an editor. Very different hats these two. They often fight and have hissy fits, but they get along when they need to. I call one Jekyll and the other Hyde. You decided which is which. *smiles*