I've been asked many times, for tours and interviews, to paint a picture of my writing habits, and I bet that right now, you're thinking it's pretty glamorous, what with the sticky notes and papers and empty mug keeping me company.
My process is this. I get up early each morning, usually before the sun rises, and I gulp down my coffee with no memory of doing so. I mess around a bit on the Web, scrolling through emails, checking Facebook, making up new statuses, hunting down the perfect meme and, on a day like today, writing a blog post. Always, always, always, writing is dancing around in my head, but whether I answer the call now, or later, remains to be seen.
This is where my job and my obligations collide. I'm a mother and a full-time student, so I have to juggle my time a bit to make it all work. Sometimes, I get an hour in the morning to pound out half a chapter. Sometimes, the kids are out of bed earlier than expected, and I end up sprinkling in writing throughout the afternoon. And, more often now that it's summer and the kids are out of school, I gather my laptop and lock myself in my bedroom at the end of the night, leaving my hubby to hold the house together while I pour out my heart and soul and one of our five cats bumps my hand and kneads my legs in a bid for attention.
If I'm lucky, I can get a whole chapter done, but I'll settle for half. Half is good. At least I've made some headway, right? A few hundred words closer to another finished novel. For all the reasons I've listed, I try to get the story right the first time. I'm not a dump it all on the page and revise later person. As a movie that plays in my head while I write it, once it's down, it tends to stay down. There are no second or third drafts for me. Only the first. Revisions will come later, but they won't be what you might typically hear about, where the author chops whole chapters out, or cleaves away paragraphs. I may delete small sentences, or rework them, moved them around a bit so they have more impact, but for the most part, what you read in the final product is how I wrote it. I'd like to think the way it comes out is how it was meant to be. Does this mean that it came easy? Heck no!
Most stories I begin have several false starts before they really take off. I have graveyards of false starts hidden away in a Word document. Why? Because I'll likely use them later for another story. I'm all about recycling a good idea. I'll point to That First Kiss as an example. It started out so many ways. You probably never would have guessed that Piper was secretly in love with Tate from the beginning, a mousey shadow of the feisty woman you've gotten to know, would you? For me, it's all about getting the beginning right, and once that's out of the way, everything else follows.
What does your creative process look like?