Do. Don’t. Don’t.

I know a lot of authors have set quirks, things they do while they’re writing.  Some will always start and end a book with a glass of a particular wine or only like to work at the Starbucks on Central.  I tend to kick back on my couch, prop my trusty Asus laptop on my legs and just go for it.  I don’t have specific rules for how much I write every night, but I try to write something every night.  There are nights when that will be a couple thousand words and there are nights when I’m lucky to get a couple sentences to line up on the page.  The last couple nights have been “lucky to get a couple sentences out” nights.  I think I managed to get a woman to shoot an arrow and a dragon to slide smoothly out of the woods.

I really only follow three rules while I’m writing.

  • Do: Just write it down.  Keep going until the whole thing is on the page in some form or another
  • Don’t: Edit while writing.  Unless something pops up that absolutetly needs to be changed, editing is for the editing phase.
  • Don’t: Format the book.  That’s the absolute last thing that needs to happen and formatting too soon (other than things like chapter breaks) will break as writing and editing continue.

There you go.  Three simple rules for the writing phase.  Do Write.  Don’t Edit.  Don’t Format.  Focus on the writing and don’t worry about the rest until it’s time.  There will be times when you absolutely hate what you’re writing and want to toss the computer across the room and take up goat herding but just keep going.  Trust me on this one.  I’ve gone to bed thinking it was time to quit writing because of the drivel on the page.  When I woke up the next morning things looked a lot different.

Just keep going.  You can sort it out in the editing phase.

Don’t trust me?  Okay, I don’t always trust me, either, but maybe you’ll listen to Stephen King.