Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Writer's Wednesday: Two Pages a Day
Except my novels often stalled. Yes, shorter work could be completed in dribs and drabs, but longer works often petered out or weren't cohesive. Then last fall I watched a video featuring Kate DiCamillo. In the video she discussed her working habits, mentioning that each morning she got up, drank her coffee, and wrote two pages. And that's it. Two pages, singled-spaced, took her about an hour, and after that she was done. Even if she had more to write, she stopped. Hmmm. If this kind of schedule worked for Kate DiCamillo, a Newbery Award winner, maybe it would work for me. Two pages and an hour a day seem doable, not daunting.
And so I began. Each morning (excluding weekends), I brewed myself a cup of coffee and went straight to my desk. I did not check email or surf the internet. Instead I wrote for one hour, and by some miracle came up with two pages a day. By spring I had accumulated a 30,000 word middle-grade manuscript (and that was after abandoning 15,000 words and starting afresh). Now this first draft was as shitty as they come, of course. But that's what revision is for, right?
DiCamillo follows the same process when revising, with one small change. She revises two pages a day, but the pages are now double, not single, spaced. In this regard, I've parted ways with her. I revise for an hour each morning too, but I'll often go back and work some more in the afternoon.
So this once free spirit has become a creature of routine--and my writing has certainly benefited. What's your writing schedule and how does it help/hinder your writing?
Interview with Kate DiCamillo. Watch it!