Writing is an interesting game, and I’m still new enough at it to observe and track my methods, keeping an eye out for what works. It’s about 60 days since my JHOP (Johns Hopkins for Old People) classes ended in May, and I began to ease into my Daily Writing Habit. I have long felt that I write best and most productively when I write daily.
I figure writing six days a week would be a good target—51 days the last two months, but I have managed only 34. That is about 67 percent of what I should have done, so I guess I get a C- or D+, but it has felt more like B or B+ work.
I’ve been working on novels, by the seat of the pants. Although I don’t believe it’s wise to work on multiple projects at one time, but I have shifted back and forth between two novels. My goal when I sit down to write is 500 words, which is a good day’s work, but the session generally ends when it’s time for me to put on my toque and prepare dinner for my wife and myself. I’ve averaged 569 words per day those 34 days, and I've passed 1,000 words three times since June 30.
The seat of the pants thing is working well. I start with a character or characters and a scene I might want to write. I try to describe the characters and put them in motion, then follow their leads. For instance the bulk of the writing, 19,000 words, has been The Fall of the Biarritz, in which my series private eye, Frank Swiver, agrees to fill in as house dick at the posh Biarritz Hotel for two weeks for his friend who’s recovering from an appendicitis attack. I think of it as a bit of an ensemble adventure, bringing together a cast of disparate villains and schemers and a taste of international intrigue. I’m really happy with how I’ve started with just a character and situation—p.i. fills in as acting house dick—and the plot ideas just keep coming.