Week 18 | Your writing habits

Part of the Acres of Ink 52 Week Writing Challenge >>

Week 18

I spoke previously about my thoughts on getting the words down (Week 16). My own writing habits largely reflect those thoughts, although they’re somewhat more specific to what best works for me.

My main 4 habits can be summed up as the following:

Commuter / adhoc snippets: 50 minutes of writing ‘out of order’, without my notes in front of me. This is usually on my phone or on my mini-laptop, and is more free-flowing than a writing sprint. Anything could happen, and I decide afterwards whether or not it’s canon.

Writing sprint: 25 minutes of dedicated writing, with my notes in front of me and a clear, structured plan for where the scene is going. I will do 1x sprint as a minimum, but if I’m feeling productive, I will do 2 or 3 sprint sessions back-to-back.

Lunchtime words: 1 hour of focused writing. These are usually written without my notes, so will be a scene I know well enough not to need reference materials. Alternatively – and lately – I use this as my editing time.

Hermit sessions: These sessions are few and far between, but when they happen, they’re magical. I lock myself away in my tower study and write for as long as the mood takes me. I only break for food and the bathroom. The requirement for a successful hermit session is that I have no one contacting me. No phone calls, no chats with my fiance… just complete isolation for a whole blessed day of creativity.

With this in mind, a typical week of writing for me will look like this:

MONDAY Commute snippets Commute snippets
TUESDAY Commute snippets Writing 1hr Writing sprint
WEDNESDAY Commute snippets Writing 1hr
THURSDAY Commute snippets Commute snippets
SATURDAY Writing sprint
SUNDAY Writing sprint Writing sprint

But when I have deadlines I’m dying to meet or I’m feeling particularly inspired, it will look like this:

MONDAY Commute snippets Writing 1hr Commute snippets
TUESDAY Commute snippets Writing 1hr Writing sprint
WEDNESDAY Commute snippets Writing 1hr
THURSDAY Writing sprint Writing 1hr Writing sprint
FRIDAY Writing sprint Commute snippets

Hermit session

SUNDAY Writing sprint Writing sprint Writing sprint

Those are the good habits.

These are the bad ones.

I procrastinate like the Dickens. I’ve literally written an entire novel whilst avoiding my two productive choices of a) editing Book 1 or b) writing Book 2. This is a novel I mainly used as background knowledge for my characters, and never intend to submit it for publication. Its name is Blackwood, and it focuses on the background of minor character Blossom Blackwood whom I spoke about in Week 4. In addition to that, I spend quite a few of my ‘commute snippet’ sessions working on sequels to that novel – detailing the life of Blossom’s son, Knightshade Valerian. Whilst these stories are beneficial to me as a writer, helping me know my characters inside and out, plus allowing me to develop the Seelie / UnSeelie universe in ways I hadn’t previously thought about, I cannot deny that’s not why I started it. The result might be an enriched world full of small details, but I started it because I wanted to blow off some steam.

I hate editing my own books so I will avoid doing it at all costs. Somewhat related to the above point about procrastination, I really fall down when it comes to editing my own work. This is particularly weird and unfortunate because I love editing other people’s work. I’m currently training as an SfEP editor (currently Level 1 Certified and moving upwards), and my writing partner, S.E. Berrow, is about to hand me her novel for a trim and a polish. I cannot wait to sink my teeth into it.

When I get going, I forget to eat and move. I clearly have a one-track mind: when I finally wrangle my mind to focus on writing, I forget all else. Hermit sessions are particularly dangerous because, if I’m not mindful, I will go the whole day not eating or drinking, or moving, simply because I won’t feel hungry, thirsty, and I’m too involved in my writing to worry about my body.

2 thoughts on “Week 18 | Your writing habits

  1. Maybe if you settled down to write an unrelated story you’d eventually get around to writing Winter Court/editing Elder Throne XD I enjoy our hermit sessions when we go on our writing retreats.

    Liked by 1 person

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