Part 1 can be found here.
I started writing my second novel Death at the Notch, a continuation of the storyline from Death of a Player, in the spring of 2013. Because it was my second book, I learned some techniques for productivity which can be useful for things besides writing.
1. Make a very general outline, based on a loose plot. Some people do this by listing chapters and write down a theme for each one. Others make a general statement and use that as an outline. Either way, the plot is a guide to give direction and focus. It's not etched in stone and sometimes, new plots emerge that are even better than the original plan.
2. Add to the outline, branching out with sub-plots, tib-dbits, red herrings as they come up.
3. Keep notes and be prepared to get a Eureka moment anywhere at anytime. I keep notecards in my purse so I can jot down ideas, plot lines, names, descriptions, etc as they come to me. I downloaded an app for my phone so I could take notes. I don't hesitate to pull my car over and write down ideas if they come at unexpected times. (Yes, I was the strange lady in the CVS parking lot typing into my phone.)
4. Writing is a job that requires discipline. I had to commit time to writing. As I said to my husband, "this story isn't going to write itself." I made a decision to spend each morning writing. By doing this, I don't always get quality writing, but I do get a basis. I find it easier to change something I already wrote than to start anew. Although there are times when what I wrote isn't what I want. If it isn't good enough or doesn't feel right, I either delete it or save it an another file for another day.
5. Know when to take a break. As important as it is to be committed to writing, it also is important to realize it's a creative outlet. Give yourself time to recharge, when needed. I found that when I wanted to write, nothing could stop me. But, there are times when I struggle to come up with a concept for that day. I continue to try and write, but after 30 minutes, if I can’t get past that hurdle, I do something to clear my head.6. Do a warm up. Just like athletes need to warm up their muscles, get their blood flowing and their attention focused, so do writers. A "warm up" for writers can be writing, but it can also be something else that allows you to focus. I like to paint or sketch on days where the words don't appear easily. If I give myself some time to not think about the story line, I find that I tend to work through it subconsciously. I don't intentionally think about my topic, but because I find that it works its way through the maze in my head while I'm "not thinking about it."
7. Write. Then read, edit and then write. In the morning, when I start to write for the day, I read what I wrote the day before. This gives me a reminder of what was happening and a chance to correct or change anything. By the time I am ready to start "new words" I am off and running.
8. Call it a day when it's time. Some days, I know it's time to stop writing because my eyes are dry. Other days, I feel all written out and I decide it's time to stop.
9. Keep track of your word count. This tip is something I do, just so I know I'm making progress. I set a loose goal to write 5,000 words per week in the beginning stages, then 10,000 words. The majority of the time I don't meet the goal. But, I have an idea of where I want to be.
These are some of the things I do when writing that work for me. None of this is about editing or publishing, just about getting the words down and writing. The first step to getting published is to have the writings done. Don't be discouraged by the amount of time it takes. Don't be iffy about topics or worry that readers won't like it. Write your words.
Write. Write. Write.