Today I’m talking about how I notice some of my writing habits have changed through the years. When I wrote my first 6 books, I was disciplined differently. I did my writing first thing in the morning right after breakfast – or the day would surely distract me. But as the order of life sometimes changes, so has my writing.
I could write a rough draft in 2-3 months of writing 5 days a week with anywhere from 100 to 2000 words in a session, depending on the inspiration – sometimes the well is empty. After writing time, I’d move to the computer. Writing all my drafts in longhand comes in handy when wanting to stay off the computer to avoid distraction. After checking out blog comments, posts and social media, and although writing for the day was done, I then spent time in between the daily grind of life, reading articles on learning the trade of self- publishing and homing in on the craft of writing.
It’s now well over a year since I put out a new book. Oh sure, I was working on one, but somehow my enthusiasm wasn’t there, and I stopped enjoying the writing. Then life happened – a lot, then came winter vacation escape, and finally, I realized that I just needed a year off from the disciplined mandate of writing a book.
In that time of not writing a book I was still writing. I write 2 monthly columns, blog articles, book reviews, run guest interviews and have been featured as a guest myself on many blogs, and have even ventured into writing poetry more seriously. There’s no shortage of writing in my life, I just wasn’t feeling inspired to write another book without a timeout from the burnout of publishing 6 books in 5 years. Each of those books took up a good 6-8 months of my life, and I realized how swiftly life is passing by, and decided I need to be living a bit more before committing to a new project. So, I learned to accept my welcomed book writing break and learned it was okay to not be writing a book for a while. The only pressure I had was self-imposed, so I finally admitted I don’t have to write a book every day for the rest of my life, and if I’ve lost the interest for a particular project, it’s okay to abandon it. Now that doesn’t mean that all the work I’d put in would go to the delete bin. All it meant that the started manuscript would live in rest in a folder until such time I may get inspired to go back to it.
In that time away from book writing, without the rules of my self-imposed discipline hanging over me, instructing myself to write first thing in the morning, I didn’t always only write in the morning anymore. And I noticed I was developing new writing habits – writing spontaneously as compared to writing by schedule.
In my old writing habits, If the morning had passed and I was into my daily activities, I was done writing till the next morning. If an idea sprouted to mind, I’d simply jot down a sentence with the idea in a notebook to keep for fodder for a future a topic to write about. But now, throughout this past year plus that I haven’t put out a new book, I have found that random ideas have taken up more of my immediate attention—going with the inspiration when it hits. Instead of just making a notation, which would have certainly had a different interpretation than the one I originally had in mind from the magic of the moment, instead of jut jotting the thought down and left to meld into the many other fleeting ideas, I’ll immediately pick up a notebook and write what comes to mind about that topic, while it’s fresh in my mind, dropping whatever I’m doing in that moment to take advantage of the moment. I have notepads scattered in almost every room with ideas and started stories waiting to be told, instead of just ideas that were left as a sentence, never to be found again in the midst of a mountain of notepads. And I’m quite enjoying being a spontaneous writer. I’ve amassed several ideas for books and blogs this past year from random ideas that come to mind.
Through this new, no pressure process, I was sparked by an interesting book blurb I’d read while browsing through some books on Amazon, sparking a new idea for a book to write, which has since become a new enjoyable experience again. I’m thrilled to have my book writing mojo back.
It felt good to find inspiration again and to be starting a new project, despite the multitude of interruptions from daily life, and despite not always getting to write first thing in the morning or working on the book daily, My raw first draft is ready to be entered into the computer now where first round revisions will begin. I’ll be taking a winter escape break in a short few weeks, so when I return, I’ll be diving into rewrite mode as I enter my stories. As it seems life may be taking on new directions for us this year – again taking up a lot of my personal time and brain space, I hope to publish early summer. At least I now have a plan. I suppose the bonus is, the longer I allow my manuscript to marinate in-between edit rounds is a good thing.
And so, perhaps you may be wondering what I’m working on? Because it’s still a work in progress, I don’t want to give too much away, but suffice it to say, as a memoir writer, you can expect more personal stories. This book is based on ‘first times’ of doing things in life – my life. The title has yet to be finalized, but the working title is ‘Fifteen First Times’, the subtitle is: The Good, The Bad, The Funny, and The Sad. They may be my stories, but they’re relatable, and sometimes moving. So, if you enjoy reading my books, I’m confident you’ll want to read this one!
Here is a ‘very’ rough draft of a ‘working’ blurb:
A collection of first-times in life where Kaye takes us with her on some of the big moments of life’s most natural events through the intimate, conversational style we’ve come to know from this author’s style for extracting the meatiest moments in life and getting to the heart of each matter, delivered with sincerity and inflections of humor.
Have you noticed your writing habits have changed through the year?