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How I'm Writing My Book
Process and Progress
I said I would let you backstage to see how I’m writing my book, and here’s my first update!
I have 33k words so far! My document is titled “Write On Shitty First Draft” and it absolutely is that—shitty! But it’s supposed to be. It’s full of TKs and inconsistent formatting and stuff I know I’m going to change later or take out, but just had to get down so I could move on with the rest of it. I’m working from a detailed outline, and honestly, this is going pretty easily because I know what I’m talking about! There are some places where I’m going to do further reading to broaden my horizons, as well some light interviews and such, so that will slow me down in terms of rising word count, but that’s ok. Word count isn’t everything. I’m aiming for about 80k here, and it’s going to be MUCH longer in first draft. Then I will viciously cut it down before I send it to my editor, who will then kindly (and thoroughly) cut it down again, I’m sure.
Right now, I am getting up early (6ish, not bonkers early) and leaving my house about 7am to go to a local coffee shop to write for an hour or two before my regular work day. I do this Tuesdays and Thursdays as much as possible. This worked for me a few years ago when I was finishing my novel. I have an almost-seven-year old and while they are much more self sufficient than when I was writing that novel, I still need to be completely unavailable to focus on just writing and not, for example, jump up when no one can find the right water bottle in the morning. If I’m not there, the water miraculously still gets found.
Luckily, though, I’ve discovered I can write for an hour or two on the weekends, regardless of who’s home and asking me questions. On Sunday I wrote a 1,000 words sitting in the living room while my kid played with Lego. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I won’t count on that every weekend, but it’s nice to know it can happen.
I recently bought a bunch of books, lol, for research, and I’ve organized them to coincide with the chapter I’m working on. That’s slower going than the actual writing but that’s ok, too. My due date is in February and it’s not going to the printer in March or anything, so I have time to incorporate what needs to be incorporated.
Sometime in the next month I’m going to send what I have to my editor for her early thoughts. While she’s reading, I will continue on, because I don’t expect she’s going to say anything that will drastically change what I write going forward, and in the off chance she does, well, that’s what the revisions are for. I have a feeling of a few things she might point out, and I can’t wait to see if I’m right, lol. I’ll clean it up as much as I can, but she won’t mind if there are a few TKs still in there. It’s early days yet and I’m feeling great.
I do not think I would be so calm and unruffled about this process if I were writing another novel. I outline my novels extensively, too, but because everything’s made up in a novel, you, well, have to make everything up. With this non-fiction book, I’m writing about stuff I’ve talked and taught about for almost twenty years. This definitely makes me think the time spent outlining a novel, even more than I already do, is well spent, even if things change in the actual writing of it. When I finish the novel I’m currently half done with (next year, lol) I won’t worry about those writing days that are mostly thinking and planning, when the word count doesn’t rise. That’s writing, too.
We’ll see if things are going this well the next time I check in, lol! I may look back at this and think oh Kate you sweet Summer child. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I’ll find out when I get there.