Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The rituals of a writer

I'll admit that I'm just a little bit obsessive compulsive. I have rituals when I do just about anything, mostly because I have a lot of anxiety about a lot of things. Welcome to my world, ladies and gentlemen. But I've found that my writing suffers if I don't do a certain series of rituals that puts me in the writing mood.

Every writer has their own set of rituals, I suppose. Some will sit down to write and can only begin writing new material once they've gone through the material they wrote the day before. Others write with word counts or page counts--they write until they hit that magic number and then they're done for the day. And still others will only write when the mood hits them. And only if they're in the right place for it.

I'm something very different, I suppose. A mixture of those if you will.

My rituals begin with the order in which I do things. When I think about writing, it doesn't just mean working on the new novel or revising an old project for publishing. For me, writing also means dealing with my website, my blog, and my book review blog. And it deals with promoting my books, talking to reviewers, and planning tours. So my writing takes up a lot more time than just sitting down to write a novel.

I always begin with working on new blog posts. I like to have one or two blog posts ready to go ahead of time, that way they automatically post. Because I'm so obsessive compulsive, I like to have my blog posts planned out ahead of time--and by that I mean a month ahead of time. If you looked at my schedule right now, you'd see that my schedule so far runs all the way to the end of January. Soon I'll begin planning for February. So I start my writing day with working on at least one new blog post. Sometimes I'll even do two.

Then I work on contacting reviewers and blogs. Depending on how many I have to contact that day, it may take me anywhere from half an hour to an hour. I send out emails about book reviews or blog tours. I make contacts in the reviewer community so that when I have a new book coming out, I have someone I can get in touch with to help promote it. Because I don't have a big publishing house with a PR department behind me. I'm all on my own here.

After I've got that done, it's all about the writing. I start with a short warm up. Usually it's just 500 words on some short story or prompt that I'm working on. It just gets me in the writing mood. I usually have a playlist for my warm up. I'll admit, right now my warm up is a fanfiction. But it does the job.

Once the warm up is done, then I tackle the new project. And I try to do a minimum of 2,000 words. It goes faster if I'm in a good writing mood and I'm listening to my playlist. Right now, my new project is the final book in the Elemental Royals Trilogy. Sometimes I can get through the word count quickly--an hour to an hour and a half. Other times, it takes me hours, or even all day, to get it done. But I'll work it until it's done.

Then, if I have it, I'll work on revisions. And that's usually if I still have any energy left. Sometimes I just don't have the energy to deal with the story anymore that day. It all depends on all long it took me to get that word count out. Or what kind of mood I'm in.

Every writer has their own rituals. But this is what works for me. A writer's rituals are sacred, a liturgy that put us in that place that connects us to the characters and the worlds we try to put on paper.

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Edited by - Stephanie King