Monday, May 3, 2010

The joy of writing

I rolled up my sleeves and got back to work today. As some of you know, I've put the theological book on hold and have gone back to the political novel. It just feels right, especially since book one, The Devil You Don't Know, is kind of languishing in query land right now.

I've made a deal with myself. I'm going to finish this current book by the end of the year -- a timetable I find very reachable considering how well it's going. I already have 15k done and blasted out about a thousand more today.

Meanwhile, I'm going to continue to fine tune TDYDK based on any feedback I get from betas. I also plan on sending out a handful of queries each week and retooling the query itself based on the types of rejections I'm getting. Who knows? Maybe lightning will strike and an agent will be interested. If so, great. If not, well then, I'll consider the book my learner's book and move on. I suspect very few writers actually get the first manuscript they write published. And while the money grows tighter each day, I've decided to press on.

I really like this new book. It's a completely different direction from the previous one and I actually enjoy writing it. I know this sounds weird, but when I think of the first book, I see the colors black and blue in my mind's eye. When I think of this one, I see orange and yellow. It's just not as depressing a book, despite some nasty violence and some big-time suspense.

I'm also curious about your writing schedules (for you writers out there). I decided to get up much earlier, hitting the gym by 6 or so and getting home by 8 to begin writing. I'm not sure why, but it just sounded like a good thing to do. But I'm so frigging exhausted right now that I'm having second thoughts.

For many years, while I was working at the newspaper, I had to be at work before 8 a.m. I got up every morning at 4:30 (yes, you read that correctly!) and headed for the gym, which opens at 5 on weekdays. I'd get home by 7 and be out the door a few minutes later. I lived this way for many years.

But when I left the paper, I discovered the joys of late-night television. From Scrubs to Letterman to Craig Ferguson, I'm usually not asleep until 12:30 or 1 a.m. I get up a little before 7, have a couple cups of coffee, watch Morning Joe on MSNBC and spend some time with the wife and kids before we all leave the house about 8:15. This gets me home about 10:30. I cook and eat brunch, read for an hour or so and write in the afternoons.

I usually only write during the week, although I've been known to work on Sunday evenings. I know there are writers out there who swear you have to write every day if you're going to be a real writer. But I really like to keep weekends for myself and my family.

Now this has served me well, but I can't shake the feeling that I might be more efficient if I wrote in the mornings and goofed off in the afternoons (you know, when the Cubs are usually on television).

So tell me, what's your writing routine? When do you write and for how long each day? Do you write on weekends, or just on weekdays?


  1. I'm up at 5am, yes, you heard that right. Just because. I sit down and blog from 5-7 with my caffeine (I don't have cable otherwise I'd be watching Morning Joe too.) I get the baby up and ready for school, we leave, I'm back by 9:15. I write in the mornings from then until I have to leave to pick her up at 11:45. We lunch, and sometimes, (very few days) I'll have the opportunity to blast out a couple more words in the afternoon. If she goes to bed on time and falls asleep fast, I'll go back down and write some more. But she usually doesn't so I blog.

    Weekend mornings are nice because she sleeps in and I can write from 5-10am. I can usually get around 2.5k done per weekday and about 4-5K on the weekends.

    I like writing in the mornings myself. I find my ideas, not to mention my arthritis doesn't give me too many problems. In the afternoons, I'm more likely to look out the window instead of type.

    Sorry for the long comment. I haven't talked to many adults today.

  2. I used to like to write late at night, but now with my 365 site, I get up in the morning and do it then, because I like to post around noon.

    I have to admit I was a little shocked at you saying that you may consider TDYDK to be a "learner's book." Does this mean if an agent doesn't pick it up, you're not going to publish it? Terry, remember this when dealing with agents and people from the business side: The Beatles were turned down by almost every record company in London, before George Martin saw their potential and got them a deal at Capitol. One even took their manager to the side to tell him they had no talent.

    You should try every avenue to get an agent interested, but if worse comes to worse, put it out yourself and make as much noise about it as you can. Two words: Self-Promotion. If you can sell a couple thousand on your own, you can write back to the agents and tell them you're doing this on your own, imagine if you had a publishing house behind you.

    P.S. Word verification: forit. As in go for it, take it as a sign Terry!

  3. The joy of writing? Doesn't sound at all like you.

    I used to write all through the night. However, I've now seen the light per se and get up early instead.

    Hearing the birds through my little loft window is quite delicious.

    I write pretty much all the time. Albeit most of it is deleted and rewritten. Oh, the joys of writing indeed.

  4. Thanks Anne, for your insight. I, too, miss getting up early. Perhaps that's what I'm yearning for -- that little bit of peace in the mornings BEFORE all hell breaks loose. And man, you write alot! You put me to shame. :)

    Marty: I know what you mean about not giving up on the book, and I'm certainly not going to do that. Not for a good long while. But sometimes, there comes a time to move on. I'm nowhere near there, yet. Thank you for your continued support. You're a good guy and I appreciate the hell out of you.

    Wendy: Ha. I guess I have been a bit of a curmudgeon and a grouch lately. I guess through all of the whining and bitching, I sometimes forget that I really DO love to write and create. It gives me more joy than almost anything else in life, outside of my family. And I hear you on the deletions and rewrites! ;)

  5. Well, as a fellow Cub fan, I can certainly see your point. lol. I am probably a better writer in the morning, as I'm usually very tired in the evening, but that's the time that is usually free for me to write. I get up now about 4:45 and have to be to work at 6am. Twice a week, I work 12.5 hours, with an hour total commute. When I get home, I'm just so tired! I need to win the lottery so I can write at a good time for me. ;-)

  6. I write when the mood strikes. I try to write in the morning before work and then in the evenings and on weekends. Sometimes I get 10,000 words in a week. Sometimes I write zero. I started a new book at the beginning of March and am at about 30,000, but I've not written a new word on it around April 20th or so. I need to get back to it, but I'm having doubts about it. When I doubt, I procrastinate.

  7. I'm my most creative at night, but if I don't right in the morning or early afternoon it's a crapshoot whether I'll have the energy -- or dedication -- to crack open my laptop after the day is done. Especially now, all hope at getting any writing done last night went right out the window after a loss to the Yankees. Blech!