I had the evening planned out: I had a crockpot meal ready when I got home, and I would sit down and write 1000 words, then do a chore or juggle or read a little bit. I had to take breaks because I've spent so much time at the keyboard in the last four days that my back is on the verge of a breakdown.
I'm pretty happy with last night's progress. I'm sure I'll hate it when I'm editing it tonight, but hey, I've got a coherant draft. A little editing and tomorrow's deadline is a shoe-in.
On this and other recent projects, I've been starting new drafts in empty files. Frankly, I've hardly ever done that before. Usually when I talk about a new draft, I mean a heavily edited version of a prior one, or one with lots of new chunks. But I'm finding that starting over, even if I end up retyping a lot of the same sentences, is a great technique:
- It's very satisfying. You produce words fast.
- It's easy to get into the flow of the piece in a writing session when you have something to start with. I get the same effect by starting a new scene in a notebook in an odd moment, and then using that to start my day's session at the computer. Just retyping what I wrote is a great way to get started.
- It's a great way to unify the story and fix/catch logic errors. You can't ignore stuff when you have to retype it. I now see that a lot of problems I encounter come from reusing old text.
This is hardly a new idea, but I think it's worth highlighting for anyone who grew up with word processors from the get-go. I don't think I'd have become a writer if word processors weren't available to make the typesetting feasible. But I see a crutch in my process now, and this simple technique of redrafting from scratch is proving valuable.