In the interest of better time management and maximizing my writing output, I’ve read a lot of articles and books on how other writers do it. Over and over, I’ve read the first thing you should do every morning is write, to the exclusion of anything else. Most say they take their cup of coffee (Oh, look! They DID make an exclusion, after all. 😀 ) and head for their computer/typewriter/legal tablet (shudder), and start writing. No checking their blogs, no answering emails, nothing to put a damper on the morning’s inspiration and output. To that, I say, balderdash! Tommyrot! And, I don’t theenk so! At least not for me.
I am a tiny bit obsessive about my emails, for one thing. I can put a hold on breakfast, or blogs, or setting up my social calendar, but two things must be done immediately upon starting my day. One, the dogs must go out. Their needs will not wait for my writing urges to be satisfied. And two, I absolutely, positively have to at least scan my email. I don’t have to answer it right away, unless it’s from someone asking me to come speak to their group, in which case it gets immediate attention. But I do have to scan through it to be certain there are no fires waiting to be put out.
If I were to try to write without at least seeing what landed in my Inbox overnight, I wouldn’t be able to concentrate at all. So I run through my mail, deleting what I can, taking care of anything I deem really urgent, and flagging those next-in-line messages to be handled later, when I’m ready to take a break. Then, and only then, do I turn off my email notifier, turn down the volume to almost Mute level, and start writing.
Everyone seems to have a different approach to output, as well. As far as mine goes, that varies widely from day to day. I don’t set a word minimum, because I’d rather have 100 well chosen words than 1,000 that I’ll mostly end up dumping later. Yes, you guessed it. *blushing, here* I clean up as I go. Make of that what you will. I can’t stop myself, nor do I want to. Dumping tons of unchecked verbiage on the page makes me nervous and unhappy. I like writing a fairly organized and decent-sounding draft. When it’s finished, I will revise. At that point, I’ve been away from the earlier chapters long enough to tackle each one and see the more obvious places that need cutting or better word choices. Then I ship them off to my editor who works hand in hand with me on the final cuts and polishes.
How do you do it? Do you tackle that manuscript first thing in the morning, ignoring all else? Do you establish daily word quotas? Do you clean up, at least a bit, as you write, or just pour out everything in your mind and worry with that later? Share your thoughts, if you would, and remember, there are no wrong answers. I’m just curious as to whether anyone else at all works like I do, or if I’m totally alone in the wilderness, here. As always, inquiring minds wanna know.