I don't think any writer truly likes to wake up in the morning, sit down at the writing table, and say, "Today I am writing a novel."
The writer doesn't like to contemplate the plot arc of story of three plus hundred pages, the myriad characters and character changes. The settings--the scenes in Bangalore and Mozambique, Dublin and Roanoke. The themes--the movement from despair to hope, hate to anger to revenge, from ignorance to knowledge, from desire to love.
And why would the writer want to consider all the small details when beginning that morning's writing? The hair color of every character, street names, city names, building locations, secondary characters' tag lines.
A novel is like a life, and a writer doesn't want to relive the whole thing every morning before starting to work. Certainly, it's good to keep some of the above in mind. And maybe the writer works to an outline that will keep some of the information fresh and clear.
But frankly, contemplating all of the above would make me stand up and go watch Good Morning, America.
So here's the thing that is true, and it's not my wisdom but wisdom passed to me by a seasoned writer. Annie Lamott said, "Three hundred words a day, and in a year, you have a novel."
I heard this advice in 1995, and I have published ten novels since then and written another three (but those "lemons" are another story).
Maybe it's a horrible first draft, but it is a novel. And here's my spin. Each morning, you look over the last paragraph or so, and you go in. You write. You get your 300 words or more (usually this isn't that hard to do, and on a bad day, 299 counts). You don't have to connect all the dots. Trust me, when you look at this rough draft at the end of the writing of it, you will find where Mary had green eyes on page 24 and brown on 142. You will realize you didn't' develop the arc of the story and need three new scenes before Sasha decides to quit her job. You will find out that you didn't research the San Francisco map well enough and you need to do some recon in order to get it right. You have an office building on an alley street. You can fix it and will. That will all happen.
But each morning, write as if 300 is all you have to do and all you do.
My 300 words sometimes happen when my students are writing or in my office at work. They happen at home in between my other work and they occur on vacation. I've written in foreign climes, on a house boat the captain had to power up in order to get my laptop working, in airports and train stations. They are easy to fit in because they are 300 words and not a novel. I don't say "I have to write my novel."
I say, "I have to write."
Poof! it's magic. A rough draft. Something you can work with.
Okay, I have to write.
Causes Jessica Inclan Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org