Adjusting the Process

I’ve made a start on the new book. It was a little slower than I’d hoped to get going, but that was mostly because I made an abrupt change in plans just before I started writing.

I’m adding something new to my process with this book. I’m journaling the book as I write it. I’ve been journaling for a few years. I sit at the table after breakfast in the morning with a cup of tea and do a bit of a brain dump, just getting all those swirling thoughts out of my head. A few months ago, I read an article about how doing that in the evening helps with sleep, so I switched journaling times, and it did seem to help with those random thoughts that wake me up during the night. But I really like that time sitting at the table in the morning. It’s not so much procrastination as it is enjoying that time, but it was delaying my work day. I read another article about journaling your book, doing some freewriting by hand before you start your writing day, hashing out your thoughts about the book. I’ve been doing brainstorming that way, and then as I prepared to start writing, on Monday morning I journaled about the scene I was going to write.

It seems to have worked pretty well because I had a burst of insight. I had two events happening independently, but I realized that the event in the first scene should actually cause the event of the next scene, but then that involved reworking a couple of scenes and even cutting a planned scene. So I spent more than an hour working all that out before I sat down and got to work.

I’m having the usual feeling of the perfect, wonderful book in my head being like a child’s stick figure drawing once I start writing. I’ve had to go back and put in some things I’d planned and forgot. I’ll need to add more description and emotion, as usual. I can picture the settings, but I can’t seem to find places to really set the stage because I’m too focused on what the characters are doing and saying.

But I can do that in the next draft. Right now, I’m getting the action down, and it’s fun having all these insights that make the story stronger, even if they do require rethinking things. Just this morning, that journaling gave me the solution to a problem I was struggling with. I was trying to figure out who should be present for a scene. Either way, there were benefits but also potential problems, and the solution came to me as I wrote about my dilemma.

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