Spontaneous or sloppy?

Sorry, folks. I’ve been sadly remiss in blogging.

The good news is–that means I’m writing something else. Because I’m never NOT writing.

And with the new book, the first I’ve written knowing publication is assured, my writing process is changing. Hopefully, I’m becoming more of a professional”as the work becomes more central to my life. It’s easy to spin your wheels over a book – to get bogged down in research, to go off on tangents that end on the novelist’s equivalent of the cutting room floor, or to answer the siren song of some newer, shinier project. 

I’ve always been a fairly disciplined writer, working at least a little every day, but focusing on one story has always been difficult. I have lots of ideas, and every day, a different project seems like “the one.” Surprisingly, it’s a tremendous relief to have my creativity channeled by someone other than myself–to have an agent and editor tell me I have to write this book, and have it done by this date

I put a lot of thought into how to approach the looming specter of a deadline. I’ve decided that writing a fast first draft is probably the best strategy. The sooner the characters move through their paces and perform their parts, the sooner I can start refining things like word choice, pacing, and cadence. 

 And it always surprises me how well that first, spontaneous draft turns out. By shutting down the intellectual, critical filters and channeling my characters directly, I let Charlie and Nate define the action, and their personalities shine through. Spontaneity shows, and gives your writing that fresh, unstudied quality that keeps the reader immersed in the story. 

 At least, that’s what I’m thinking this week. We’ll see what I think when I go back and reread my so-called spontaneity. Spontaneity–or sloppiness? Only time can tell.