Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Routines . . .


I've been asked to blog about my "writing routines" on another blog, so I thought I'd practice on you guys first.  :-)   

My writing routines . . . well, you've probably picked up that I'm a severely structured person.  Before I ever begin a project, I mark out the days on the calendar, cross out any travel dates, all Sabbaths, and any other days I won't be able to work, and then I divide the number of available workdays by the amount of drafts I expect the book to take--usually four or five.  Then I print out a work calendar and literally mark each day with "draft one" or "draft 2," etc.  

When I begin each draft, I print out a hard copy and divide the number of pages by the number of days available for that draft.  This gives me my editing quota.  On the first draft, of course, I'm aiming for number of words, and I usually set of a goal of writing between 5,000 and 7,000, depending on the book's schedule.  

Is that a lot?  Most writers think so, but I write fast, sloppy, and lean.  The purpose of the subsequent drafts is to fill in the canvas and flesh out the characters.  I have a skeleton outline, so I know where I'm going. 

My daily routine is fairly simple:  up early, breakfast, clean house (a chore or two per day), read newspapers, quiet time, exercise time, shower time, work time.  And I stay at work until I've finished my assignment for the day, whatever's on the work calendar.  If I spend too much time on other pursuits (email, web surfing, mindless video games), I will be at my desk well into the evening hours.  But there's so little TV worth watching . . . 

If I do finish work at a decent hour, I like to kick back and reward myself with a movie--another way to study story.  I've been a Netflix member for years and love being able to discover films I would never have found if not for the Internet.  

And there you have it--not very glamorous, I'm afraid, but a practical method that works and has enabled me to write 115 books in the last 20 years.  

Now I'm sure you can find something more interesting to read . . .   :-)  

~~Angie 

10 comments:

Terri L. Gillespie said...

I so love you, Angie! You forgot to mention that you use spreadsheets. Once you demonstrated that I could be a left-brained writer I was eternally in your debt. You're my hero!

Smilingsal said...

And I admire you even more now that you've confessed to being so structured. I love organization. Yours shows!

Mocha with Linda said...

More interesting? Doubtful!

Love having a peek into your world!

Anonymous said...

The discipline and the daily structure are what give you the time to develop your stories with all the requisite detail. Your books would hardly be as interesting without all the research you make time for to make the stories authentic. You have given us peeks into your writing world in the past. This time, the detail shows why your works are so worthy of praise. You work at it and you work at it HARD! Thank you for this inside look. Clyde

Richard Mabry said...

Angie,
Thanks for the inside view of how it SHOULD be done. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go hang my head in shame. Your routine looks like something put together by the engineers at Mercedes Benz. Mine more closely resembles a poorly assembled work from a blueprint by the coaching staff of the Dallas Cowboys.

Alice Teh said...

Hi Angie, thanks for sharing with us!

Just wanted to let you know that I've finished your book The Elevator a few days ago and I enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Again! Just saw the trailer for "Taking a Chance on Love" - the sequel of your "The Note" on Hallmark. I believe it said it airs on January 31? I saw it out of the corner of my eye and don't think it said anything about it's being the sequel. Anyway, it's coming quickly and I look forward to seeing it. Expect you can give us more accurate info. Thanks, Angie! Clyde

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Angie,
This answers my musings of "How does she DO it all?" It does not, however, answer my question to myself, "How can I do it all?" If I followed your schedule, after shower time would come--time to go to bed! Maybe I need more caffeine. But you provide a great role model and inspiration. Thanks.
Mary Kay

jan said...

your writing routine is a very interesting subject! i am so glad that you shared this with us.
jan

Dazer Debbie in SC said...

Angie...I don't write books, but I need to have more structure with my job and activities.A schedule could keep me on track and I could accomplish more,perhaps. Thanks for the outline...I'll design one to help MY life! Dazer Deb