When it’s Time to Start Again

Books are a moving target. I’ve never had a book become stagnant. What I mean by this is I am going back to old work. Maybe I am submitting, or editing or doing yet another set of beta readers, or maybe it’s all business of writing stuff. Point being, I don’t have any work that doesn’t live in my head. They are all up there.

I need to prep for a new book. The current romantic suspense is on its last fumes. When I reach the writing end of a book, I am so glad it’s over. Stick a fork in it done. There is nothing left to bleed onto the page. Well, edits will happen, but I try to ignore logical thought when I am creatively spent.

There is nothing more fun and exciting then bringing together a new project. Everything is bright and shiny. There is a closet full of characters who want to come out and play. But, where to start?

I am analytical by nature. An oft-used word drops from lips. Efficient. Work smarter not harder. I am always looking for ways to save time. It’s my most precious commodity. I try to be a good steward.

Looking at how I wrote this last book, and the edits on two books ago, I know I am still struggling to keep my drafts separate. I’ve considered using Scrivener for the first draft and critique group draft. Then exporting to word and moving on from there. It’s easy to track drafts in a word processor program. I haven’t found that kind of peace in Scrivener. It’s a beautiful tool, but I am rigid in defining drafts.

I’d like to use a trifold board and index cards to do a rough skeleton of this next book. It’s going to be a straight contemporary. Probably. Who know what will happen to the idea as it percolates. So many trails to follow. Which will have the most meaning and emotion?

I don’t think I will ever forget to save the cat. There will be one card on the board dedicated to it. This seems so simple, but it must be elegantly executed so as not to seem like an awkward play for emotion.

For now, I can’t even conceive of writing a book without Scrivener. Word is great for a later draft when it’s all about spelling, deleting and apostrophes. But I need the tree system to keep things straight. As an example, if you follow me on social media, you know I forget my characters names ALL THE TIME. Going between books every week as I work causes confusion. In my Scrivener template, I have a sheet for Names. My guy created it for me in Word, then I imported it into the program. I open it three or four times a writing session. It’s one of my quirks.

I keep a copy of a work in progress in a folder which I share with my iPad. I’ve paid for the Scrivener mobile access, so this is handy. I rarely travel without my laptop, but I use mobile access for little things. For example, one nurse who visits me had on a pair of pants that were clearly uncomfortable. She pulled at her pants over and over again. I put the thought in my idea folder to use for a character down the road. So, I don’t use the iPad to write, but I use it for a brain dump.

I have a paper planner dedicated to my career. I use it 5 or 6 days a week to keep track of my writing goals and competitions. I also am using the monthly calendar for planning out articles to upload and some social media. I don’t think I will ever be happy about social media. It isn’t my thing, but it’s a reality. My intention is to have a month’s worth of articles finished and publish them over 4 weeks while I work on the next set. We will see how this goes.

After writing this, I will create the new template in Scrivener. My hands always shake a little as I open the portal for a new book. What will happen? What will I learn? Am I really writing another book?

How do you approach a new project? I’d love to hear from you. Please comment below and let me know your process. I’d love for you to share with another writer or reader.