I am a simultaneously disciplined and haphazard writer. It’s one of the privileges of being early in my career- I choose what to write and when, and I take full advantage of it. Let’s take a look at the last six months, from January to now: in January, I wrote an NA romance about a college student who takes a dare to be more adventurous but almost loses herself along the way. In February, I wrote an MG about a boy hiding a secret from his adoptive parents who finds the courage to tell them after a summer of magical encounters at the summer cottage.
In March, I revised an MG from last year about a smart, independent girl whose efforts to save the dragon she accidentally obtained rely on her ability to develop friendships.
in April, I wrote a YA about a girl who has to stay under the radar in her grandparents’ seniors-only community while her mom recovers from a mental health breakdown and the homeless boy who she must eventually decide to help or abandon. In May and June I did some preliminary revisions on the NA and wrote five short stories, and then began my current project- a YA retelling of Phantom of the Opera set in a Charleston youth orchestra.
I’ve always liked variety- in friendships, activities, books, and writing. But I’ve always wondered if I would be a stronger writer if I stuck to one sort of thing, instead of going wherever the words take me. And the puzzling thing is that I stick to cycles that are quite predictable, despite the array of projects: I always draft the first 30k, then write the end, then seesaw between them until a draft is complete. I always draft three or four books, then go into revision mode for awhile. I always write at least one short story between novels.
I find it fascinating, the ways in which writers find their own unique balance between order and creative chaos, exploration and discipline. For some the method changes from book to book but they stick to one category or genre. Others write different categories but stick to rigid wordcounts and revision schedules.
So now I’m curious- what are your habits and strategies? What impact do you think they have on your writing?