A question I get a lot is: what does your writing day look like? I hadn't really thought about how I structure my writing day until I began my second novel. In this blog post I will compare my writing process from my first novel to the second and the third. The process was quite different for all the novels. Sometimes it takes three novels to embrace your organic writing rhythm.
When I wrote my first book, Between the Cracks, I had a mentor and met with her every month so I had to write twenty five to thirty pages every month to make the meeting worth while. I had no system to my writing, I just wrote when I felt I had time or was inspired (see my first blog post about motivation and inspiration). Since I had a goal of twenty five to thirty pages monthly, sometimes I wrote those pages in one sitting, waited for my mentor to critique the new pages before I wrote some more. This was not the most efficient path for a author and it took an inordinate amount of time to produce a publishable novel. I wouldn't recommend this approach, but I will share with you what I learned: you should write your first draft before editing your pages. Get the entire novel on paper before you consider editing. This was an important lesson.
My approach to my second novel, The Ascent, was a bit more structured. I chose mornings to write because that was when my energy was the highest. This was an improvement, but it was still not ideal even though I was beginning to follow my natural writing process. What I found was that each novel has its own process so I needed to work in tandem with the energy of the book. Sometimes the needs of the novel took precedence other time my writing process came forward. I tried to write a certain amount of pages each day but that didn't work. I would write a page and then I would lose my flow. It seemed to bottom out from under me. The Ascent was a difficult book to pace because I was fighting against its timing, I insisted it follow my rhythm and be on my schedule. Once I let go and paid attention to when there was a natural stopping point, then the book started to flow. If I had done this from the beginning then it would have been published sooner.
I am currently writing the third book in my trilogy, The Next Generation (working title). This has been a gift in terms of the writing process. I am able to commit to writing four pages a day while working in tandem with the book's energy and time frame. I have found that, in general, the early afternoon is ideal for this book. This novel demands more structure than the previous books. However, there is always a caveat when it comes to creativity so depending on the character or theme I'm writing sometimes I am drawn to write as soon as I get up;
Having a structure but being flexible within that intention is key to any creative process, especially writing. So if you are having difficulty focusing or establishing a framework around your writing, check in with the book you're writing. It will help you on your creative path.
Carmela Cattuti started her writing career as a journalist for the Somerville News in Boston, MA. After she finished her graduate work in English Literature from Boston College she began to write creatively and taught a journal writing course at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education As fate would have it, she felt compelled to write her great aunt's story. “Between the Cracks” has gone through several incarnations and will now become a trilogy. Her second novel, The Ascent has just been published. Check out her books at https://www.amazon.com/s?k=carmela+cattuti&ref=nb_sb_noss_1. To connect with Carmela email her firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website at www.ccattuticreative.com/carmela-cattuti-books.