The McPhedran Way – A Typical (Good) Day in My Writing Process

6:30 am Think about the big picture things – characters, theme – when I wake up.

8:30 am Ideas drift around for the next few hours as I sort through emails, purchases, music downloads and desk cleanup. These activities get my brain moving, akin to rocking a car back and forth out of the mud, until I think it might be ready to gun it and get on the road.

11:00 am Review what I wrote the previous day(s), read through a scene or two, and identify problems – weak dialogue, weird scene arcs – and make brief edits.

12:30 pm Lunch, news and emails. Maybe apply for a new job.

2:00 pm Ride stationary bike and listen to electronic music (Fripp & Eno, Ekca Liena, Keith Berry, Endless Melancholy) or The Grateful Dead. The first twenty minutes of my workout is about the workout, focusing on getting my heart rate up, and then begin the process of thinking of what I need to do, generally research and blogs. And then I think of my first writing problem. Why is the chapter not moving in a clear direction? How do I get it to do that? How do I avoid repeating myself and get my characters to stop sitting around and bitch about life. Things need to happen. What if I move the launch to the end and the conversation and Lai’s scene to the start?

And so it goes. I review the ideas and accumulate more and more, until I am up to as many as I can remember – my maximum is around a dozen – and then repeat them in my head until I can get them in a pattern. I finish the workout and write notes on everything I can remember – hopefully all of it.

3:00 pm Enter the ideas into the text while listening to electronic music.

4:30 pm Write. Momentum on my side, this is where I write and write. This might go for another 3-4 hours, pauses and beers in between, until it begins to taper.

8:00 pm Save some things for tomorrow. I agree with Hemingway’s assertion that writing to the last drop is a dreadful error. That only means that tomorrow there will be nothing. The next day too. And so I leave an idea or two on my screen to help me regain my momentum tomorrow.

So it goes on a good day

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