When it is time to start writing a book, I have a few processes that I put in place. First, I read and read and read and just fill my head up with stuff because stuff is the soil where your ideas take root. Then I jot down all my ideas on index cards. I like to think that I write enough for me to know what I was thinking about the next time I see the card. What I am finding, though, is that I so don’t write enough to know what I was thinking about when I wrote the card, but I, at least, write enough so that it initiates an idea– maybe the same one I had before, maybe a brand new one, who knows. I put those index cards in some semblance of order in my little clear bookwriting box and then it is time for me to plot out how to get the book written.
At this point, I work backwards. I consider when the final, clean copy is due to the editor and then I think about getting all of the rough draft totally done at least two months before the final pretty polished piece needs to be turned in. That way, I have two months for editing. Then I think about how many pages I need to write and how many weeks I have between now and when I want my rough draft done and I divide up how many pages I need to get done by week. Then I superimpose that onto days. For me, I only have 4 days a week to write because I teach my three hour body image seminar on Friday mornings and I have the baby Friday afternoons so there’s no writing on that day. Then, I know how many pages I need to write every day. And I hold my feet to the fire to write those pages even if they are uninspired, even if they are not my best writing or ideas or whatever. Because having something on the page is better than having nothing on the page. Something I can work with and craft into something else. You can’t do anything with nothing (and that, my friends, is a brilliant sentence. You cannot do anything with nothing. I think that will be in a coffee table book one day).
Right now, I have written 144 pages of book 2. I have about another 225 pages to go not counting the introduction (and I write the introduction at the end when I know what exactly I am introducing). Not counting this week, I have 10 weeks left to write those 225 pages. So, that brings me to 6ish pages a day from Monday through Friday from now until mid-December. Since I only have about 4 hours to work each day and still have articles to write, lessons to plan, Circle de Luz things to do, I try to sit down at night and brainstorm what I’ll cover in the next day’s six pages to help me be as effcient as possible. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t, but there’s always the effort which I feel like counts for something.
As I buckle down more with this book, I’d like to be more systematic. I’d love to write the six pages at the same time everyday (this appeals to me in my mind, I wonder if it will appeal to me in actuality?). I’d love to not answer email or the phone or even get distracted by what the baby and BF are doing with their time and while I think that the first and second are possible, I am not as sure about the third because it is hard to write in a vacuum. In fact, that’s true generally. Life inspires art, a vacuum would leave you both artless and lifeless. And while I want to be more deliberate about my art, I want even more to be deliberate about my life.