Writing ‘Release The Stars’ – Day 11

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 11.33.04 amI posted this screenshot on Twitter today at 11.30AM, after I had typed the two most satisfying words in a writer’s life: The End.

A heavy rain shower woke me up at 4.30AM this morning (it’s rainy season in Hong Kong) and instead of trying to get back to sleep, I just got up and started writing. I began my first session at 5.20AM and everything came together nicely. By the time I finished just before lunch time, I was riding a massive adrenalin high (and was feeling mightily pleased with myself.)

So, that’s the first draft done in 11 days! (Actually, 4 of those were half days so it could have been 9.) ;-p

I had a few lesser days, but never anything alarming, and I think my crazy writing experiment was, at the very least, a word count success. Whether it will be successful in other ways, remains to be seen, of course. But, first and foremost, I had a lot of fun writing this book. If only half of the joy I experienced while writing it translates to the page…. it should make for an enjoyable reading experience as well. 😉

But, as always (and as I like to say): no rest for the dramatic! On Friday, I’m starting on the next one. My wife and I sat down last Monday and plotted it out already. I’m very, very excited about this one as well, so I actually can’t wait to get started.

I’ve certainly learned a thing or two while writing this book. Here are the most important ‘lessons’:

Stay off the internet
I can’t repeat this one enough. The internet is a massive time suck. I try to stay off until lunch time (I don’t always succeed) because the morning is my ‘golden time’.

Wake up early
This one is very person specific. Until a few years ago, I’d never have guessed I was a morning person. But, for me, the early hours easily dissolve a lot of ‘writing resistance’ I would otherwise struggle with (aka I’m not so prone to procrastination in the morning.) I will definitely be getting up earlier to write my ‘Swimming Pool novel’.

A little bit of plotting goes a long way
I’ve always been a massive pantser, but the 1 sentence per chapter I had outlined for this book prior to starting certainly helped me to write faster. This doesn’t mean I always stuck to my plot, but it did steer me back in the right direction when needed, and kept me from having to have ‘a long hard think’ before starting a new chapter.

Believe in yourself
Writers doubt themselves. It’s in our blood. It’s normal. Half the time, we believe that what we put out is utter crap. I do suffer from this also, but writing fast helps with that simply because I don’t give myself the time to doubt. Because I use 30-minute writing intervals, I also don’t have to believe in myself all day, just for 30-minute stretches of time. 😉

* * *

If you’re wondering what I’m planning to do with all these first drafts and why I’m so keen on finishing them before I go to Belgium… I’ll be away from Hong Kong for two months and I think my writing time might be seriously compromised when I’m away from home. (I’m quite anal about my writing rituals.) I will be working while away (but will also take some time off!), but the focus won’t be on producing new words (although I would like to return in August with a good start on French Kissing Season 3…)

As for polishing these first drafts (Release The Stars is still full of notes and is missing one very important, crucial paragraph e.g.) and getting them ready for beta-reading and professional editing… that’s going to be a whole new experiment in itself. Sorry to be lame and not give you more details on this yet, but I kind of want to test if it will actually work out first.

If you followed me along the way, thanks for reading. And not to worry, I’ll most likely be back on Friday. 😉

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 4.44.58 pmThe early bird catches the… word! (Possibly the lamest joke ever, but my brain is really, really tired!) 😉

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