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Drafting Life

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I’ve started drafting the new tie-in novella, Sekrit Project Alex. This novella is due in early November. It’s got a very specific style of writing to it and is a demanding subject matter—yes, fans will know if I get something wrong. Not to mention, this project has one of the most technical and interesting editors I’ve ever had. I gotta get this one right.

When I’m drafting a long project (novella, short novel, novel) I move into a “drafting lifestyle.” I don’t do my usual internet tour in the morning. I get my coffee and I begin. I usually re-read and edit the last page I worked on. This puts me into the correct frame of mind and tone of the project. Then I work until I meet that day’s word count.

This isn’t to say I don’t take breaks. I do. I get breakfast. Sometimes I look at a video. Sometimes I look at a webcomic. These are all limited time breaks to let my hindbrain gnash through whatever I’m working on. I don’t play around on social media. No twitter, no Facebook, no Tumblr. None of that until I’ve gotten my word count done.

After I meet my word count for the day, I look at my outline to see what I’ll be focused on for the next day. I think about it throughout the day and am usually ready to work the next morning.

Some days the words come easier than others. Some days, I’m done by 10am. Some days, it’s noon or 1pm. The afternoons are for everything else—SFWA duties, editing projects, blog posts, social media, etc….

For the next 2 weeks, the afternoon is for working on my flash fiction ebooks. I’m prepping them and writing the new flash fiction pieces, for eventual publication. I’m examining each piece for podcast suitability. In early 2017, I plan to have the new podcast up and running. That means I’m doing a lot of foundation and prep work now.

But through it all, I’m still thinking about Sekrit Project Alex. It is my main focus. I’m drafting. I need to have it done by mid-October so I can do one full re-write before it is due in November.

I’ve warned all my friends that mornings are sacrosanct. No visits, no favors, no nothing unless it is an emergency. Afternoons are for those things. I’m fortunate that my friends and family understand when I’m drafting a novel, everything else is secondary.

That’s basically the novel drafting life for me. Morning novel work. Afternoons for everything else. If I fail at getting word count, nothing else gets done until the day’s word count is done.