On Writing – When do you write?

I live a very busy life and I don’t have much time in the day to sit down and write a novel. I’ve heard authors say that they spend hours a day just working on their novels. Even if I didn’t have to hold down a day job, I don’t think I could spend that much time writing. But it would be nice to have that luxury.

I write Null_Pointer at the end of the day usually on Friday or Saturday nights. I spend no longer than a couple of hours at a time on it. I usually sit at my dinning room table with my MacBook and the kitchen light on. I will listen to light Jazz on a iTunes radio channel, and set my editor for full screen mode, to cut down on distractions. Unless I am referring to notes or web pages with research on them.

I usually wait until the wife and kids go to bed, again for better concentration. If I have a good idea what I intend to write, I can knock out about 5 pages per night. Usually, that’s a chapter per weekend.

During the week, I will spend about an hour per night, doing research for the book or just thinking about the current chapter. By the time I get to the weekend, I’ve usually got a pretty good idea what I need to write.

Do I think out every detail and paragraph? No. That’s the magic part that slips into my head as I type. Do I reread what I last wrote before I begin writing? Sometimes. It only helps to make sure I’m sticking to the same tone and style.

Do I rewrite while I’m working on the first draft? Not generally. If I forget to add something or think of something that needs changing, I will go back and modify as needed. But I like to press on and finish that first draft before re-writing anything.

Do you ever fall in love with what you have written? Sometimes, but I’m never committed to anything on the first draft. So far, my favorite line is from Dancia when they cruise by Glenn’s scary house. “I don’t want to break into Boo Radley’s house.” Anytime you can make a reference to a classic novel like “To Kill a Mocking Bird” without making it look forced, is cool. The one thing I like to work on in the second draft, is all the technical details that help build character and move the plot. Showing not telling and stuff like that, all come out in the re-write. Unless I get inspired during the first draft and good things come to light.

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