Thursday, February 25, 2016

Changing the Game

I've said this before, but I'm a very Type A person. Which is weird, because I'm also really creative and go-with-the-flow on lots of things. But I'm very focused and driven when it comes to setting and meeting goals. I love goals. I set deadlines, and create to-do lists. I know that it's important to break a big deadline down into steps, and I love to celebrate accomplishing one of those steps. When I'm writing a first draft, I usually set a daily word count goal. Something like 750 or 1,000 words a day, with the intention of finishing the draft in about 75-90 days. I've often written even faster first drafts, my record being six weeks (and that's with a full time job, a kid and other responsibilities). It's worked really well for me.

Until it didn't. I've been working on my Zyan Star series, trying to get books two and three done, with the anticipation that my agent could sell my Huntress series at any time, and I'll need to shift my focus to that. So I want to get as much done on Zyan as I can before that happens. I'm on the third book now. But the second book was a struggle honestly, and the third was starting out that way. Part of it is me learning to write a series. And part of it was just me putting too much structure and pressure on it. Which brings me to that thing we all know as writers, but still surprises us (or at least me): every book is different. And sometimes you have to change the game.

So I hid my word count from view. And I'm writing each day until I feel done. Sometimes this is probably just a couple pages (and obviously I'm guessing here since I can't see). And sometimes it's a lot. The story is flowing much better now, and I've put in several really great writing sessions where I felt like really good stuff was getting onto the page. I was getting way too hung up on word count, and writing to meet that instead of letting scenes unfold naturally. Since I've rebooted my process, it's going great. 

Do you change things up from time to time? What ways have you found to change the game?


  1. I have never written a new book the same way. I never used to plot. Now I plot. Except when I just go with the flow. And then I don't. I think I'm an ebb and flow kind of panster/plotter now. :-)

  2. If the word count was hanging you up, then good idea to switch.
    The time between the books in my series was long enough that each time it felt like a fresh new idea.

  3. What a great idea to not pay attention to word count... I let it get to me too as I also give myself daily quote of words to write and yep, some days it's a real struggle, but when I ignore all that and just focus on the story it flows. But trying to get to that stage is the tricky part:)

  4. Wow, I'm glad I read your post. I'm having a block right now, also with the third novel in series, and I think I must be overthinking things. I really need to let go, and let the story happen the way it wants to rather than trying to force it to fit the vision I had since writing the first book. Glad yours is going well, and good luck.

  5. Yeah, I've found that word count can sometimes be discouraging. I haven't found a solution for it though. Some people do through outlining scenes and saying, "Hah! I got that scene done." Maybe switching it up really is the way to go.

  6. I just write now, instead of focusing on word count. I have a specific scene, or a specific section, or I just write hell-bent until the piece is finished, if it's short. I'm almost at the point where I'm going to stick with an outline for the next book, and I've never used an outline before. Whatever works at the moment I'm writing is what I do.


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