When I’m writing, I try to write every day — and my mark for the day is usually 1,500 words. This works out pretty well, since my process seems to lend itself more to scenes than real chapters. I start out with an image in mind and try to write as complete a scene as I can — keeping in mind the scenes that I’ve written earlier and trying to maintain the narrative flow.
If I don’t write every day, I tend to lose that slender thread that runs through the work, the trail of breadcrumbs through the dark and tangled forest of my words. That’s never a good thing.
I’m currently working on a pretty good piece I’m calling “Prodigal” for now. It’s essentially a love story, albeit a really screwed up one. I’m several thousand words into it, and I have only the vaguest idea of what’s going to happen. That’s another part of the fun for me. I don’t outline, so a lot of the time I’m discovering the story in the same way a reader would.
We’ll eventually talk more about why it’s so important to discipline yourself to write every day. But it’s bedtime for me now, and I need to get there in order to have a shot at hitting my 1,500 words tomorrow. The one thing I can’t afford to do is let writing here distract me from the manuscript.