It’s so comforting to feel the familiarity of my routines as I get ready to start working on a manuscript. Each piece of my process feels like wrapping myself in a favorite blanket and the excitement builds each step of the way.
Last week I did nearly everything I needed to in order to start writing MS:L this week. I reread the 8,000 words I’d already written which rooted me back in the story and with my characters. After that I set the three acts of the story and created cards for my plot board. I knew I wanted to create a brand new playlist for writing this story. It’s set in a world where magic is as essential as water and air and I knew I wanted to build my writing environment to feel as steeped in that world as I could make it. The playlist has songs from artists I’ve never had on my writing playlists before woven in with some of my favorite bands. It inspired me to reset some of the decorative elements around my desk and I LOVE the atmosphere it all created. I played with creating collages in Canva last week too. One is a kind of concept-art for what I think the cover of the book would be and the other is a group of pictures that inspire the imagery of the world.
Once all of that was finished toward the end of last week, I started to feel slightly down. Just as the processes I went through to get ready to write this manuscript are familiar, so too is that critical self-doubting voice that accompanies it. It was quiet during all of the work I did, I think lulling me into a false security. When it became loud and demanded attention, I decided to combat it with art. I printed the collages from Canva and raided my craft closet to create three vision board/story art collage/story inspirational pages in the BIG Happy Planner I’m using for my story notes. I left spaces on each to write notes from my characters to each other whenever the story inspires me to do so.
This week the real work begins as I dive into the writing of the story. I want this draft to end up at about 70,000 words and with 35 chapters right now it’ll be about 2,000 words a chapter. That feels a little long, as I usually shoot for 1,800 word chapters, but it’ll give me more space to edit and revise later on. This also feels like a good practice run for NaNoWriMo later this year, as I want to push myself to write a 70,000 word draft then as well.
One of the things I realized while I was going through the planning this week, is that MS:L tugs at my heartstrings in the relationships that will be explored in two different ways. It’s got the romantic story between my two main characters, which is my favorite, but it also has a strong sibling relationship. While it’s a theme I’ve touched on in some of my stories, something about it in this story is tugging at me, telling me to pay attention. I’m excited to figure out what about it is different and special in this story. MS:L is pulling at me in so many ways, it’s time to immerse myself in the writing of the story.
In case you haven’t been told today, you are more than enough. If you can, let someone else know that they are too.