If I'm honest with myself, 90% of my observations on writing go out the window the minute I'm actually writing. Once the words start to flow, it's just a matter of getting as many of them into the manuscript as I can. How that happens, I don't care. It's only in hindsight that I pick apart the process involved, looking for clues to how the trick is performed.
In the last few days I've been rewriting chunks of a novel. New scenes, variations on old scenes, characters originally introduced in the second volume now advanced to the first. Because editing involves a lot of searching for solutions that fit into material already extant, there's a lot of time spent thinking, writing notes and ideas down outside the manuscript, and so on. Only when a unit of story has been developed to the same degree as the original story it's going into do I commit it to the main manuscript.
But sometimes I just start writing, completely blind, right in the middle of the thing -- writing whatever pops into my head -- and see how that goes. So there's no real 'best way' I've found to do this.
But here's something I have certainly learned during this process.
I make one large mug of industrial-strength, caffeinated tea in the morning. Usually around 6 AM, once the news has been read, social network friends insulted, and so forth. I can't drink coffee any more; it sends me right through the ceiling. This is a terrible disadvantage to writing.
So I drink this brick-colored tea, suitable for preserving mummies.
About twenty minutes later, the stuff hits me in a very particular way. I get a bump of optimism, a feeling that the day before me is laden with riches that only need carrying away. This is the caffeine doing its thing; otherwise I'm pretty sure it's all futile, and I'd be better off as a tree in some nice quiet forest somewhere.
But if I am in my chair when that happy bubble comes along, I get far more done that day. Start writing! Feel that? That's the feeling optimists have! Only optimists and fools can write novels! Write, you grim fool! That jump-start, if taken advantage of, can give me an extra thousand words for the day. After that it's decaf. Did you know you can decaffeinate tea by brewing the tea bag for thirty seconds, pouring off the water, and then brewing it again? It's true.
So there you have it. I have learned something: drugs help me write.
3 weeks ago