I’m currently hot and heavy writing the first draft of a new project. When polled to pick their favorite step in the writing process – prewriting (outlines, research, etc), first drafts, revisions, editing, and/or publishing – writer’s responses are typically all over the board. It’s a no-brainer for me. The first draft is when I feel the most alive, creatively, and if I’m not careful I can become so absorbed in the process I let other parts of my life suffer. Not a good habit to fall into.
But even when I’m conveying my random thoughts into a tale with some sense of structure and arc, I still find time to daydream. No, I’m not talking about taking quick peeks on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even your blogroll. That’s something else entirely. What I mean is sitting back when you reach a chapter break or a certain word count you’ve set as a goal, and letting your mind wander. Inevitably it will drift into the future and allow you to experience what life will be like when the book you’ve been sweating over is finally revealed to the world. Doing that can serve as a great motivational technique, sometimes yielding thousands of additional words in an effort of reaching your musing more quickly.
While this is happening it is very easy to get caught up thinking about the various things you might want to do to market your book. You’ll want it to do well, so it’s natural to develop strategies to help maximize its exposure. I’m guilty of this myself. But here is where I feel things go haywire sometimes, and it involves putting the cart before the horse. During my tenure out here in the blogosphere, I’ve come across multiple posts that devote a great deal of time discussing promotional activities for books that have not even been completed yet. Now this is going to the extreme, but I’m sure plenty of writers spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about future moves on the checkerboard instead of focusing on the task at hand. It’s just another one of those procrastination quirks we have to fight through, but this one is more romantic than the others because it still involves our book, albeit not directly.
So take it from someone who knows, don’t get caught looking down the road and end up running into a ditch.