On My Evolving Process & Cahill Book 3

I’ve been thinking a lot about process lately – mine – what it looks like versus what I want it to look like.

Writing BORN WICKED had its ups and downs, as any process will, but overall? It felt right; I felt proud of it – and confident, too, in a soul-deep way. Even before it sold, I got a tattoo (which says Thrice, because the original title was THRICE BLESSED) to remind me how joyful writing it was. I’m not a particularly religious person, but I felt very much like – this is why I am here; this is my purpose. Whereas with STAR CURSED –  I love it and I’m proud of it, but writing it was decidedly not a joyful process. It was hard and frustrating and filled with doubt monsters. I’ve heard sequels can often be like that, and so can first books under contract/deadline. It doesn’t have anything to do with the quality of the work (I hope) but with the process and where my head was.

Now I’m starting book 3, and I want it to be fun again. Playful. I want to find a way to take this thing that has become my work, my job, and make it joyful.

I’m not totally sure how to do that. I can’t go back to the way I wrote BW, because I’m not the same person or the same writer. But I think I can do things better than I have been, on both the writing front and the writing/life balance.

So – this is my plan for book 3. I will have a draft by the end of January. I will write 1k a day most days but not necessarily in order; I’ll skip ahead and write the scene or even snippet I want to write. I will write more in the afternoons in coffee shops with The Playwright, who loves coffee-shop writing. (This gives me more time in the evenings to see shows and go for walks with friends and have time for reading, and will hopefully engender less guilt for not leaving the house or doing anything productive before 10pm.) I won’t feel guilty if I only do 1k a day, or that I edit as I go and thus will never be a write-50k-in-a-month girl. (Sorry, NaNo. I’m pretty sure I’ve confirmed you don’t work for me. It’s not you, it’s me.) I will take Sundays off to read and nap and watch football in front of the space heater in the basement. I will keep a ta-done! list as well as a never-ending to-do list (cheesy, I know, but I swear it helps me feel less overwhelmed). I will journal more. I will be excited about this itty bitty baby draft, and I won’t subject it to my own internal editor so early; I won’t squish it by worrying about what my editor will think and what reviewers will think and whether readers will like it.

We’ll see how it goes. I’ll report back, ok?

3 Responses

  1. Morgan

    I think it sounds like a great plan! I know just what you mean… I haven't finished a book yet, but I know in my heart which stories I get really excited to write about and am willing to work through the hardships to finish. I'm trying to learn that it can be ok to let go if it's not fun anymore, like my NaNo novel :/ It's inspired me to write, but to write and finish something I've already started. Maybe I'll have a finished manuscript by January too! Good luck!! Can't wait to read Star Cursed and Book 3 🙂

  2. Jessica, that sounds like a great idea–make the writing fun again, whatever that ultimately means to you. I'm sure you can pull that off, and figure out a strategy to keep it joyful for the rest of your career!

    And, y'know, tell us your secret, magical ways once you do 😉

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