I have an author crush on Angela Hunt. She is a writer’s writer. In an age where “platform” seems to be everywhere, she gets away with writing just about anything she wants. Her tag line is to “expect the unexpected.” How great is that? So if you look up her kazillion books online you can choose from her children’s books, historicals, contemporary women’s, suspense, nonfiction, and on and on—and what you will get is a good read. Every time. And if that isn’t enough she also teaches at writer’s conferences. (She’s on my mp3 player when I go skating with my kids…I often wonder if people think it odd that I nod and laugh a lot while I skate…) Check out her website to see where she’ll be this year. You do not want to miss out. She’s fabulous and she is about to reveal her writing routines….
My writing routines . . . well, if you’ve read my blog at all, you’ve probably picked up that I’m a severely structured person. Before I ever begin a project, I mark out the days on the calendar, cross out any travel dates, all Sabbaths, and any other days I won’t be able to work, and then I divide the number of available workdays by the amount of drafts I expect the book to take–usually four or five. Then I print out a work calendar and literally mark each day with “draft one” or “draft 2,” etc.
When I begin each draft, I print out a hard copy and divide the number of pages by the number of days available for that draft. This gives me my editing quota. On the first draft, of course, I’m aiming for number of words, and I usually set of a goal of writing between 5,000 and 7,000, depending on the book’s schedule.
Is that a lot? Most writers think so, but I write fast, sloppy, and lean. The purpose of the subsequent drafts is to fill in the canvas and flesh out the characters. I have a skeleton outline, so I know where I’m going.
My daily routine is fairly simple: up early, breakfast, clean house (a chore or two per day), read newspapers, quiet time, exercise time, shower time, work time. And I stay at work until I’ve finished my assignment for the day, whatever’s on the work calendar. If I spend too much time on other pursuits (email, web surfing, mindless video games), I will be at my desk well into the evening hours. (But there’s so little TV worth watching . . . )
If I do finish work at a decent hour, I like to kick back and reward myself with a movie–another way to study story. I’ve been a Netflix member for years and love being able to discover films I would never have found if not for the Internet.
And there you have it–not very glamorous, I’m afraid, but a practical method that works and has enabled me to write 115 books in the last 20 years.