Tuesday, February 13, 2007

what came next

I could ramble on about this part but the kernel of it is this: I dedicated a regular time and place for writing the book.

The first draft of the first novel was written over the course of a year, every Thursday night from 6-9:30 or so, at a little table in a coffee house. At that point in time, I couldn't write at home and I couldn't write in my office. The child energy was too strong at home and the client energy too strong in my office.

This worked very well for that year, when I was writing first draft. When it came time to revise, the noise of the coffee house became too distracting, and I decided to push myself to try out my nice quiet office for the revision work.

When several Thursday afternoon clients finished up therapy processes, instead of putting new clients in I added THAT time to my writing time. Which then meant I had from 1 p.m. until 9:30 or so on Thursdays! It was a full writing "day."

I signed up for a 6-week critique group with Peggy Payne and from there formed my own group of writers who wanted to meet weekly to seriously critique our books and make them better.

I went to a writers' conference and got jazzed about the idea of querying agents.

Etc. Etc. One step at a time, but the essential thing was devoting time to the book - not trying to squeeze it in whenever I could, but making room for it and prioritizing it highly enough that it had a prominent place in my life.

One note: I seemed to have stored up a ton of material during the years I didn't write, so that when I finally started it was like a geyser. It hasn't yet stopped. I have three complete mss now and several more outlined, waiting in the wings for me to get to them. While many writers struggle with writers' block, I seem to struggle with "can't stop." (which is its own problem, especially when one needs to set the ms aside to get some distance and refuel) Point being: we all have our little issues that interfere. It's just a matter of learning what they are and figuring out how to work through them!

Ask away if I have left something out or triggered questions.


Matthew said...

I really enjoyed reading these last two posts.

billie said...

Glad you did.



Peggy Payne said...

I'm impressed that you could write a draft in three and a half hours a week.

billie said...

Well, if you remember, it was not a very GOOD draft. :)

It was that first monstrosity that you critiqued for me, the one where folie was a brief epistolary section in the middle section.

In retrospect, I think I had the seeds of my first three novels in that first headlong rush of words. :)


May I say, too, that if anyone reading this is a writer, click on Peggy's name and go on over to her author site for information on her critiquing services.

She is excellent.


Peggy Payne said...

Thanks, Billie. And you're right the first draft had a long way to go. And you made it good in enormous leaps and bounds (please forgive cliche.) I loved the last version I saw.

billie said...

May the next version you read be a signed, bound copy fresh from the bookstore. :)