As I write this, I am in a hotel room in Matera, Italy. It’s about 9pm and I am thinking about going out after a meal since some restaurants just opened.
For me, writing is not always structured the same way. I have times of intense focus when I write (or read) to the exclusion of almost everything else, and then I have times when I don’t write. Generally, I’d say I read or write three to six hours per day—that’s an average. But, I can go months without actually writing at all, especially when I am working on something else—like moving my home, for example. I also write anywhere I can, even in restaurants sometimes when I travel, although I prefer writing at my desk with a larger monitor. I use an Apple Air laptop and purchased the commercial version of Office for my work.
I don’t have a specific time I write, I write as I find time when I want to do so. During the writing of THE BALANCE and THE BOY WHO RAN (I wrote the first drafts sequentially and revised them in parallel), I followed the three to six hour guideline, but I spent twenty hours writing one day when the momentum for THE BALANCE was high. The first draft of THE BALANCE was about 85K words and it grew to about 140K words before I started cutting. The first draft took me six weeks to write. THE BOY WHO RAN required an initial week of research on the period and its first draft of about 31K words took me three weeks to scribble out. But, first drafts are only 10% of the creative work.
I write exclusively on a computer now. I used to write in longhand (when I was in my teens) and then struggle typing on an old manual typewriter, but the word processor has been a blessing. I’m sure I went through THE BOY at least 200 times; imagine that with a pencil—I guess writers of old were better at their first drafts than me. But I write anywhere, even in restaurants if I’m eating alone and traveling.
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