Site icon Crissi Langwell

My novel writing ritual

I wake up every morning at 5:30 a.m. The coffee is set for 5:20 a.m., so by the time I drag myself out of bed I have a full pot ready to be inhaled.

I spend the first twenty minutes or so waking up. That means checking my Facebook, my Twitter, and any important emails that might have come in between 11 at night and now. Then I check my online bank account to make sure I still have money. Finally, I repeatedly check my book sales to see how many millions of people have bought my book, and am genuinely surprised to see that it’s still just the one person. I make a mental note to thank my mom.

At about 6 a.m., I decide it’s finally time to get down to business. I open the manuscript I’m working on and read a few paragraphs above where I left off. I see a few grammar mistakes and fix those. That reminds me of a part earlier in the story that is clashing with the part of the story I wrote the day before. So I go back and change that. Then I remember that I used the name of someone I like for a character I really don’t like. I Google baby names from when this character would have been born and give him a new name. I do a “find” and “replace” to change out all instances of this name. When I skim the whole story to make sure I didn’t miss any, I see a part of the story I really like. I re-read it and pat myself on the back for being such a good writer. And that reminds me that it’s time to start writing NOW.

It’s about 6:20 a.m., the time my husband is about to wake up. And I have just typed my first two words. I can hear him stirring upstairs, so I quickly pour him a cup of coffee and bring it to him. This does two things – it gives me serious wife points, and it ensures he’ll stay upstairs while getting ready and not disturb me in my dedicated writing time.

I get back to the computer and look at the two words I just wrote. I don’t like them. I delete those two words. And I delete the whole paragraph above that. I am now at -200 words. I close my eyes and think really hard about what I’m trying to say. Nothing comes. I decide that maybe music will help. So I turn on my playlist of special writing music. The song is pretty awesome, so I do a little dance in my chair. That gives me inspiration for the scene I’m working on, so I go with it.

My teenager wakes up. She pours herself a cup of coffee and sits next to me at the table. She wants to tell me about the dream she just had. I tell her I’m writing. She gets hurt feelings and leaves the table. I feel guilty and follow her to her room. She doesn’t want to tell me anymore. I insist. Her will is stronger. I give up and go back to my writing. She changes her mind and wants to tell me. I sit and listen to her dream, hoping she hurries it up. She’s 15. “Hurry up” is not in her vocabulary.

Her step-dad comes down the stairs and she ambushes him with her dream. I quickly put the headphones back on and go back to my writing. A ping in the headphones alerts me that I have a new Facebook message on the computer tab I accidentally left open. I try not to check it. I check it anyway. Someone just commented on something I commented on yesterday. I go back to my writing, but only after I’ve rechecked my email, Twitter, and book stats.

“That doesn’t look like writing,” my husband tells me as he kisses me goodbye. I glare at him. He just doesn’t understand the writing process.

A look at the clock, and I’m surprised to see it’s already 7 a.m. I only have 30 more minutes left to write before I have to get ready for my day job! I close down all my internet browsers and disable the internet on my computer just in case. I realize I might need the thesaurus, so I turn the internet back on, but promise myself to leave email and social media alone. I chuck my phone across the room for good measure. Then I buckle down and start writing. I don’t even care what I’m writing, I just write. And I don’t stop until the clock tells me I have to.

It takes me a full two hours to reach 800 words.

Dang family, always getting in the way of my writing! I promise myself that I’ll buy a writing studio when I get rich and famous off my novel. Until then, I have tomorrow to start all over again.


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