I'm often asked if I have a routine, a special schedule, or a system that helps me get the words on the page. Just like my writing, I have a general outline—an idea of what I want to happen when I get up in the morning. I'm betting everyone struggles to keep on schedule whatever their plan, but life almost always gets in the way.
I do my best writing early in the morning, so I get up between 5:30 and 6:00 most days. I take the dog out, feed him, and then make a pot of coffee. I'm never hungry when I wake up, so food can wait. Many authors will tell you they write before they do anything else online. The reason is fairly obvious. One-click of a YouTube video, and it's down the rabbit hole or what I like to call the vortex that is social media. That used to be me until I made a commitment to myself. If I can't control my curiosity about the latest Kardashian drama, then I'd have little control over my commitment to writing. I like to think of it as strengthening my discipline muscle.
So, before I start writing, I check my email, read the news, check-in on social media sites, make a note on anything I need to follow up on that might be time-consuming, and then direct my focus completely on writing.
I use Scrivener for my first draft. Sometimes I write in a linear fashion, but most often, I write scenes instead of chapters. It depends on my mood and what I want to say, but I allow myself the freedom to go with the flow.
I have a general outline of my story when I start. I know the beginning, the middle, and the ending, but I leave room for inspiration and let the story take over. I love Scrivener because I can bounce around easily within the story. I always have actors in my mind for certain roles, which helps me when developing a character profile.
I stop for lunch around 1:00 pm and will write a bit more for the next two hours before I call it a day. I've got friends and family I love to be with, so I always make time for a life outside of writing. Before the day is over, I will once again check my emails and social media, making sure I respond to emails and anything else that needs my attention.
All this sounds like a routine—a set schedule for successfully completing a book, doesn't it?
As I said, life happens, and all my planning will go out the window when the world demands my attention elsewhere. And, that's fine. I know my deadlines. I know what I have to do, and I'm lucky I can spend my days doing something I love. But, I need flexibility. I need to go with Plan B if Plan A doesn't work. If I fall behind in my writing, I play catch-up the next day.
So, that's a day in the life of Annie Cabot. Not too exciting, but absolutely heaven to me.
Have a great day,