My Writing Process

Happy Monday everyone!

I’ve been tagged in the writing process blog hop by my friend, S.K. Falls. You can check out her gif-awesome post here!

I went a little more wordy for mine. So sorry. Tl;dr version: I like to write sprint.

Full version:

Many of you know I churn out a pretty high word count average per day. When I sit down to write I average 2,000-5,000 words. I don’t like to say pages because a page of narrative compared to a page of dialogue is so different that some days you’ll get 4-8 pages and others 10-15 depending on how much dialogue you wrote.

So, how do I do it? Since I started writing the Elemental Series I stopped treating writing like a hobby. That is the biggest question you need to ask yourself: Is writing a hobby for you? If it isn’t, if you plan to someday quit that day job and become a fulltime writer then you need to treat your writing like a job. I wrote the first three rough drafts of the first three books in the Elemental Series while working a full time job. I did not, by any stretch of the imagination, get 2-5k words a day during that time, but I forced myself to get 1k words, five days a week.

Because I was in the habit of writing 1k words a day (which averages out to 4 pages if you’re curious), when I lost my job due to the economy crash, it wasn’t difficult for me to demand more words of myself every day.

Now I’m a fulltime writer so of course I need to get a much larger word count. Yes, the house needs to be cleaned, the laundry needs doing, the dogs need walking, food needs cooking, time spent with my husband needs spending. All of that needs to be done, but you do all of that with a day job, right? Why make excuses to keep from writing? All of those things will still get done after you’ve allowed yourself time to write. Treat it like a job. If you called in sick every day to any other job, you’d eventually get fired, right? Right.

But how do I get that much written in a day, that’s the other question. I do not sit at my desk and write nonstop until I reach my word goal for the day. If I did, I would never get the numbers I get. Instead I carve out my words in chunks. There are a few different ways to do this, you just gotta figure out what works best for you.

I am very active on Twitter and like to have it open while I’m writing. I use it to report how much I’ve written and tell people I’m writing so if there’s someone else writing at that moment, they know they aren’t alone. It’s good to have a writing community.

When I first started this practice a popular challenge was #1k1hr – which means you’re committing to writing for one straight hour to get 1,000 words. This is cool, but it doesn’t always work for me. One straight hour, never looking away, never giving myself a tiny break, gets to me. Like a cat with a laser pointer, I can’t focus.

I sprint. I write for 15 mins straight, or 20 minutes or 30. I never go longer than 30 without a break. In 15 mins I can write about 400-500 words. In 20 I can write 500-800 words. And in 30 I almost always break the 1k mark and average 900-1300 words. But if you ask me to write for one hour straight I won’t get much more than 1k because I slow down and want to do other things. Or I think, “no pressure, I still have like 38 mins. I’ll get more… oh, look! Pinterest! Hey, what was that song I wanted to know the lyrics to?” It’s too much! Could you run as fast as you could for a whole hour? Do you think by the 40 min mark you’d be running just as fast as you were at the 15 min mark? Probably not. I look at writing the same way.

I sprint, usually with some writer friends, for a short block of time, then look away from the document. I check my email, twitter, stats, whatever. I take a 5-15 min break and then go again. But even if you only take a 5 min break, it will make a huge difference.

Also, when I start a new project, I allow myself a day to figure out the beginnings of a soundtrack and compile at least an hour’s worth of songs on a playlist on Spotify. And I’ll let myself play on Pinterest with a muse-board for the book. I might pin pics of people/celebs that look like my characters for inspiration. Or, if I know what city the book is set in (or at least what kind of city), I’ll pin pictures of locations or structures to refer to later. It all helps in setting the mood. I by no means have to do this to write, but it helps. To this day there are songs that I will always associate with specific characters or scenes within my books, or even one particular song could encapsulate the feeling of a whole book for me and when I hear it, I’m right back in that book in my head.

Some luxuries help. Sometimes the perfect cuppa will help. Sometimes doing my hair and makeup will help. Sometimes changing clothes or staying in my pjs will help. Sometimes I don’t need anything but my outline, my soundtrack, and my desk.

Oh yeah, I started out as a pantser. My first 3.5 books were all pantsed, but when I hit the half mark on book 4, I couldn’t finish it without an outline. Now, I have a much easier time writing if I take the time to write a loose outline for the book. See? There are many factors. But sprinting. It’s all in the sprints for me to get my words done.

That’s my big secret!

Figure out what works for you and do it. It doesn’t matter what you have to do to write, so long as you actually write.

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Hot Paranormal Nights Blog Hop

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Hello everyone and welcome! I’m very excited to participate in this blog hop! Today I’m offering an excerpt from the 7acef-aircenteredsecond book in my Elemental Series: Air. Leave a comment below for your chance to win a free ebook copy of Air! And be sure to check out all the other awesome blogs participating in this hop!

***

The day had been stolen from us and, with a chill in the air, we realized the sun was sinking below the horizon, casting long shadows through the orchard beyond my window. Jodi and Steven climbed down the tree, deciding to walk home and leave Jensen and me alone. I needed warm comfort that went beyond what friends alone could offer with just platonic affection. I needed heat and to feel grateful to be alive.

As soon as the trapdoor was shut behind them, Jensen reached out and carefully gathered me into his arms and pulled me into his lap. It was awkward for me at first, being cradled in his crossed legs like a child in a parent’s lap. Bracing myself on his shoulders, I pulled myself up enough to wrap my legs around his waist and sit in his lap, facing him.

I laid my hands on the swell of his chest and looked into his blue, blue eyes. His fingers massaged the small of my back, careful of the bruise on one side. I breathed in the scent of him, the wonderful combination of musk, cinnamon, and something sweet I could never figure out the name of.

“I know you said dating one of you means dating all of you, but I’m glad I only get to do this with you,” Jensen whispered into my hair, breathing against my ear, sending chills up my back, over my arms and out my fingertips, making tiny sparks of light flicker between our bodies. This might not be a committed, full-blown relationship, but we were the only people we were intimate with. And thank goodness, because I don’t think I could’ve shared.

“Jensen, I’m not sure we should,” I whispered, pushing on his chest to distance myself from him, if even only a couple of inches.

“Shay, we’ve talked about this,” he said, leaning toward my neck again. “I know we’re not boyfriend and girlfriend. You’re not taking advantage of me,” his breath was hot against my skin, making me shiver again.

He chuckled quietly and lowered his lips to my collarbone, kissing lightly. I tilted my chin up and felt the shift in energy around us; it was suddenly alive and swirling, playing with the locks of my hair, caressing my skin just as he laid feather light kisses on my shoulder and neck. I felt the sap trapped beneath the bark of the tree that broke the line of the walls run faster, in time with my pulse, as if the faster and hotter my blood ran, so did the life in the tree.

I felt a warm summer breeze come to life outside and rush in around us, heavy with the scents of grass, salt, and moist earth. I caught my breath just as Jensen’s teeth found the muscle in my neck and bit down, just hard enough, and the wind paused in time with me. When I exhaled, the wind rushed around us again. My skin was alive with nerves and energy waiting to be released. Jensen’s fingers pressed harder into my back, as if he would claw into my skin and I would have welcomed it. My back arched, pressing me against him, and I felt him catch his breath, his chest trembling under the pressure of my fingers as I clung to him. My thighs tightened around his waist, bringing a small sound from his parted lips. I felt his body swelling in answer to my body pressing against him.

He turned his face up to mine and I found his lips, pressing them gently into a kiss that grew almost immediately into something fiercer, almost desperate, as if the very air we breathed was locked in the other’s mouth. The energy around me built subtly and I felt it press against us. One of his hands slid up my back, tracing a tingling line of power dancing on my skin, until he found the back of my head and twined his fingers into the richness of my hair. He held it tightly against the base of my skull, just this side of painful, causing me to whimper against his mouth.

The energy that was building around us was almost too much for me to ignore as it became like a second pressure on my body, separate from his arms and chest, making it difficult to breathe. I broke from our kiss, gasping in a deep breath. Before I could exhale, I was suddenly moving, Jensen lifting me and turning our bodies until I was pressed into the floor with the weight of him above me.

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