I have my third romantic suspense novel coming out in July (if you want to check it out, Frozen Hearts pre-orders are up on Amazon). My first and second were released in December and March, and the fourth will be out in September (along with a trilogy of contemporary romance novellas).
And, then more I talk about these projects, the more I finish and edit and try to afford covers to keep up with demand, the more questions I get. The more confusion greets me.
Questions like, “didn’t you just release a book?”
Or: “wow, you’re already done with that book?”
Or: “it’s like that’s all you do, or something”
The reality is, I also run a business, I’m a mom, and I’m just doing my best to do what I love.
But, I was talking to another writer friend of mine who complimented me on my quick writing and creativity. I immediately grew self-conscious of it all: the amount I write, the speed in which I write, my publishing schedule.
I’m trying to accept myself & my process as is, and embrace it. Love it. Celebrate it. It’s just so hard when people outside are questioning, commenting, or even complimenting.
All that said, there is a “Why” behind the madness – and for those wondering, some tips of “how” I get in the words.
First: the Why.
There a few whys behind the amount I write, and the first one has nothing to do with writing itself.
I am retired Marriage and Family Therapist turned Interpersonal Coach and author/speaker. While I love teaching and coaching on relationship skills, burnout, and mental health. My heart to help others has always been in stories – which is reflected even in the theories and practices of Marriage and Family Therapy I chose to utilize and follow.
I’ve always had chronic health issues, and since having kids, that has only grown. That means, my ability to work with clients is limited. But, my family still needs my income. By writing more, faster, and cleaner, I can build to a sustainable income faster (hopefully).
That leads to the health issues themselves. Writing is something I do on my terms. Around my disabilities and chronic illnesses. I don’t have to show up anywhere, look a certain way, and there are different ways it can be accessible to me (where I write, what I use to write, etc). By doing it more, maybe I can grow a career of it on my own terms, working with my own limitations and needs.
Another why is: now that I’m a mom, I want to be home with my babies. They are only kids for a short time, and I don’t want to miss a second of it. Again, though, we need income, because that’s how the world works.
Moving on to the story and writing whys.
As I said before, I’m obsessed with stories. Books, TV, Movies. Listening to people talk about their lives.
I love a good story, and I have so many I want to share. The characters and world I’ve created just come alive in my head and I’m driven to share them with the world. I hope others love them, too. Once I get started, I can’t stop.
Finally, I feel like I was created to do this. I’ve been writing (fiction, nonfiction, poetry) since I was a kid. I still have my first “book” from when I was 8 years old. I have mystery stories I wrote when I was 10.
Writing and storytelling are my passion. I can’t NOT do them. This is what God has woven into my heart, and it’s not going away.
Because of all of these, I write when I can. I write and write.
Then, I edit.
Then, I world build.
Then, I write some more.
And, the stories come together, ready for the eyes of others.
Now that you all know why I write so much, I’m guessing there are a lot people that wonder how I write so much and so quickly.
I’ll share some tools and some thoughts I have on this, some of which you could implement, too, and some of which may just be a me thing. (I really don’t know.)
1) Get tools that go where you go. Ie: the notes app on your phone or google docs. For me, that means using a website called Dabble for drafting, and I use google slides for my series bible and story ideas/plotting. Both of these programs are on my phone, computer, iPad, basically all electronics I need access to them. That means, anytime I get struck with a scene/idea/dialogue, I can quickly jot it down in the draft/story file.
2) If I get a scene idea that doesn’t quite “fit” or seems to be about new characters, I write it down anyway. Either in google drive with my random story ideas, or in the story file I think it could go with. Then, I have them when I need or want them later. (Copy and paste is a wonderful thing).
3) I don’t plot, but I do plan. Sometimes, I don’t have much writing inspiration, but I do have daydreaming and world building inspiration. I spend some time working on those things, which helps the writing flow faster. I especially do these things when I’m stuck, and usually, not only do I get answers, but inspiration to actually write.
4) The more I write, the faster I get. I can average anywhere from 600-1300 words in an hour.
On my best days, I usually get from 6k-8k words. On an average day, usually 1.5k-4K. On my weak days, I usually sit around 0-1k words.
Given this, having a week with mixed days, I can turn out my 25k-30k novellas quickly, and my 45k-50k novels in just a few weeks (though, my not winning NaNo might suggest otherwise, haha).
Honestly, though, with the planning and daydreaming, once I sit down to write, the words flow. The more time I spend in my world and with my characters, the faster the words come, and the more I write, the faster I get.
It’s all about practice.
5) I understand structure and work to get better at crafting compelling stories. This is where craft books, craft YouTube channels, and engaging with other authors and readers come in. I don’t neglect my craft.
6) I read – a lot. I read every day. If I love a book, I can finish it in a day. I read in my genres. I read in other genres. I study stories, absorb stories, enjoy stories. Reading is something I do for enjoyment, it’s an escape. Reading also teaches me, shows me what to do (and sometimes, what not to do) in my own writing.
7) I’m just a fast writer and typist. At the end of the day, there has definitely been a lot of practice, but also, some natural ability. Once I get started, the words just come. And, I just go with them. If they aren’t perfect, that’s what editing and revising are for. I just let them flow, and for me, they’ve always naturally come quickly.
That’s all I’ve got to answer the “how” question people ask.
I know each of us are on our own, personal author journey. Everyone is at a different point, and that’s where comparison kills our dreams. We think we won’t make it to where someone else is. That kind of thinking isn’t the best.
So, it’s my hope with these answers to inspire someone to keep going, not to give up.
If you have a book you want to write, you got this. No matter how long it takes (my first book took 4 years to write, was published and available for a decade, and is no longer available, because it just wasn’t right or the path I want to take my career now. In that decade, I made less than $100).
If you have a book that needs editing, take your time. Get other eyes on your work.
If you’re where I am with only a few books out, we’re in this together. Keep going!
If you’ve been at this for decades, I look up to you. Can’t wait to be there, too. I’ll learn what I can from you and celebrate your success.
And, everyone in between – you got this. There’s room for everyone at the table, and it’s so exciting to share the book world with you all.
With Hope & Love,