Recently I reached the planned half-way point in book 4 (tentatively titled In Forgotten Dreams). The chapter was intense and, I must say, an emotional drain on me. Needing a break, I started thinking about my writing. A few questions on my mind were: Is my writing schedule productive? Am I wasting time? What should I be doing different? Am I going too slow?
Over the past few years I've developed a particular writing schedule. For the most part it goes something like this: January - March = write a rough draft. March - August = edit and revise previous works and current work. Brainstorm. Read. September = more brainstorming. More reading. October - December = plotting and outlining future works. Read. Almost every night, once the kids are in bed, I grab my tablet and start working. Usually I get in an hour or two of work, and I never stop until reaching 1,000 words written or a full chapter edited.
Everyone has their own routine and we all work at our own pace. This one has worked for me. It's the habit I've settled in to and I'm comfortable with it.
While pondering the above mentioned questions, I decided to open the file for book 3 (Under Darkened Skies). My planned release is this summer and I wanted to gauge how much work remained. Keep in mind, I completed the rough draft for that book almost a year ago. Since then, I've done two or three draft revisions. The last time I looked at that book was in December. Wow, does it need work! The writing isn't bad, and the story starts off with a bang, but there were obvious needs that stood out in the manuscript. I filled some holes and reworked a couple things in the first two chapters before putting the book away again.
The lesson for me: it appears that my habits and routine work. I strongly believe that had I rushed through the book to get it finished I would have missed the opportunity to make it stronger. Writers always say that it's best to get away and detach from your work, that way you'll return with an objective point of view. They're right. In this digital age it's relatively easy to push out a piece of fiction that meets a word count for a novel without actually giving the work and the author the opportunity to mature. That's too bad.
As I mentioned before, everyone has their own routine and pace. This one works for me; it probably won't work for most. I'm not the type of author who can crank out four books or even a dozen books per year. If you are that type of author, I applaud you. If you're not, I understand.
So Under Darkened Skies is coming. It's maturing and growing stronger. It's on schedule. After that, In Forgotten Dreams will be here. Somewhere along the way, my secret zombie novel will show up. Until then, I'll keep writing and getting better.