How I Write
by Nicole Trilivas
I am a doer. Like, I “just do it.” I get sh*t done. Fast. Usually compulsively from beginning to end, which can sometimes lead to wasteful practices like, finishing a book you don’t like just because you started it.
But for the most part, this doer attitude is a good thing. During the draft-writing stage, this attitude has served me well. When writing a first draft, I either have to “just do it” or I will never do it. So I employ a simple practice:
2,000 words a day, 5 days a week.
NO MATTER WHAT.
That’s 10,000 words a week, which means I’m a minimum of 6 weeks away from a first draft. Six weeks is nothing! I once read that 60k is a minimum word count for a novel and so after years of essay writing in school, I have been trained to aim for the minimum–sure I’m a doer, but I’m still lazy. (Even though my books usually end up being longer, I still trick myself by aiming for 60k.)
When I find myself with a completed draft, I’m awe-stuck. It happens so fast that I’m all like, “Wait, how did this even happen?” and also it’s followed by fear: “OMG I will never be able to do this again.”
But once the draft is done I slow down when I reach the editing stage. Maybe because there is no real way to measure edits. So I just kinda plot along, changing verbs, rearranging passages, re-reading the book from beginning to end. Unable to hold myself to a minimum.
I am at the editing stage of my newest novel now, and as you can see I’m sooo excited about editing.
Regardless, us writers need to carry on. Enough of my whining. I’m getting back to work.