A Chapter a Day Keeps Panic Away

I’ve started writing THE BODY IN THE TRENCH, my seventh Jazzi and Ansel cozy. I had plot points–one for every chapter–so I knew how the story flowed in my head. So what did I do? I moved things around as soon as I reached chapter 2. I thought it would make the pace faster. Moving plot points and changing my mind doesn’t bother me at all. It’s like cooking. If I have all of the ingredients and a recipe I trust, I can tinker with it all I want, as long as I write a chapter a day most week days.

A chapter a day–most days–gives me enough progress to keep me motivated. Some take longer than others. There are those nice, happy scenes where the words flow and the ideas stream onto the page. On those days, I can quit early or sneak in another chapter. Then there are scenes that fight me every other sentence. The dialogue feels stilted. The descriptions make me yawn. If I squint, I see word repetitions sprinkled in every other paragraph. Doesn’t matter. I pound out the chapter anyway. When I go back to it the next day, I can make it better.

Some scenes are just plain tricky to deal with. Too many characters doing too many different things and yapping at each other. Or two or three scenes in the same chapter. I sit at my computer longer on days like that. Even the rewrites take more time. But good and bad days even out eventually, and if I just keep pounding keys, the book keeps growing.

I’m slow and methodical, but that works for me. I’m more of a perspiration than inspiration type writer. I like having deadlines, but I don’t like having to worry if I’ll meet them. I don’t write as well when I’m stressed. I’m like the tortoise, not built for speed. When I feel scrunched, I’m stressed. Arrgh! I have to force myself not to write shorter chapters to move the book along. Sure, I’d get to the end faster, but my word count would be pitiful.

What about you? Do you like deadlines? Do you write better under pressure? I know some people do. Or does pressure mess with you? Are you a marathon writer or a sprinter?

However you work best, I hope the words flow. And happy writing!

4 thoughts on “A Chapter a Day Keeps Panic Away

  1. I did great when I was writing to deadlines, but there was a lot of stress that went with those, and I don’t miss that part. I am usually motivated by deadlines, because I feel I HAVE to produce. So I guess they’re good and bad.

    I can’t, however, imagine writing a chapter a day. At least not at this point in my life. Even when I do have a day or two devoted to writing, I don’t think I’ve produced like that except for a few times. Good for you, and happy writing!

    Liked by 1 person

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