Everyone has a process, a normal routine they follow at home or work. Sometimes we vary the routine or life intrudes and varies it for us, but the underlying process, the way we go through our typical day, remains in place.
Writers are no different. Each of us has our own process. Some authors will write ten thousand words a day (I’m not kidding), while others will stop at five hundred. Some like to listen to music, while others need absolute quiet. Some like a room with a view, while others prefer to shut out the world.
What’s the right process, the one that will enable the author to produce a best seller? Well, it’s the process that works best for that particular author.
But, how does the author know what works best for him or her? There’s nothing mysterious about that…you write and you learn. You establish a comfortable, efficient routine that becomes your process. I think in some ways an author’s process matches their personality. I’m an impatient person. That probably explains why I’ve published over forty short stories. I can write them quickly and receive the gratification of seeing them published in a short period of time.
When it comes to novels, I have a slow process. I usually write between five hundred and a thousand words a day. Occasionally, I will write fifteen hundred or even two thousand. The writing is clean and precise. I’m not the guy that does ten thousand words and then has to go through extensive editing and re-writes before it’s all said and done. That’s fine for others, but it doesn’t work for me.
I never write until I’m empty. I go to bed at night with something left in the tank, ideas and words for the next day. I don’t want to wake up with nothing to say.
Let’s see, what else? I write at a desk in the spare bedroom. There is no music and the curtains are always drawn. I have a pen, a legal pad, a synopsis, a dictionary, and a bottle of water on my desk. It’s all I need. Writing is a solitary occupation. That’s one of the things I love about it. I’m not a people person.