Novel Spaces – “Old Habits Die Hard”

writerWell, how’d that happen? Being the 16th and all, already?

If that’s what the date says on the calendar, that must mean it’s my turn in the queue  over at the Novel Spaces blog!

As we’ve reached the six-month mark since I opted to pursue writing full time, I decided to take a new look at my “writing routine” now that it *is* the day job, rather than taking a back seat to it. How has the new reality changed my old writing habits? As things turn out, there has been much change…and yet some things stay the same. The big difference now is that the things that are the same still benefit from other things being different, in that I’m not nearly so stressed about everything, anymore.

So, I guess I win, right? You tell me:

Novel Spaces – “Old Habits Die Hard”

And now I put it to you, fellow writers: How about you? Have you had a reason to try shifting the time you do the bulk of your writing? How’s that working for you? Have you embraced the new paradigm, or do you find yourself falling back into old routines?

My Novel Spaces archive.

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About Dayton Ward

Freelance word pusher. Husband. Dad. Trekkie. Rush fan (the band). Tampa Bay Bucs fan. Observer/derider of human behavior. I know where my towel is.
This entry was posted in guest blogging, novel spaces, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Novel Spaces – “Old Habits Die Hard”

  1. Madam_W says:

    OMG how I wished I could drop the day job and dedicate myself fully to writing! Kudos to you, sir!
    And a fellow Trekkie!
    Make it so, number one.

    Like

  2. jrfrontera says:

    Hi there Dayton! I attempted to comment over on Novel Spaces, but it wasn’t working, so I came back over here. I went to two of your panels at KCMO’s Planet Comicon and dropped by your table for a brief chat (complete with bored and restless 4 year old, lol!), and you mentioned you were about to write this article. I came over to read it with great interest, and I still think it’s really interesting how well we can train ourselves to be creative in certain time frames. As I mentioned during our chat, my best time is still 5am – 7am in the morning, four days a week. I used to be a night owl when I was younger, and did most of my writing 11pm – 1am … but now that I’m older I find my brain is too exhausted to want to put forth the effort of creating that late at night. Writing first thing in the morning actually makes me EXCITED to get up and out of bed, and my mind is fresh and ready to think. The house is quiet. No distractions. It’s so nice. I’ve been sick for awhile now though and have been too tired to make my normal morning routine, and it’s really bothering me! I really feel like I’m missing out on “my” time! Luckily it seems I’m finally on the up and up, so I hope to get back to that early morning writing SOON. It makes me feel so very anxious when I don’t get that time in … like you said and I agree, “the clock is ticking”. That’s how I feel every day. And if I don’t get my writing in, it messes up everything else. 😛

    I would love to someday write full time, but I do feel that is quite a long ways off yet. Still, I hold out hope. 😉 I did have one other question for you that I didn’t get a chance to ask at Comicon. I was going to ask if you had any difficulty switching from writing your original works to writing your ST works? I wrote original stories for about four years before learning “fanfiction” was a thing, and then I got lost in that for TEN YEARS. Not that it was a bad thing, I most definitely learned more about writing during that ten years than I had in the four previously, but when finally attempting to get back to my original works, I found it very difficult to readjust to the different way of going about writing my original stories again, and I wondered if you experienced that same kind of difference between original and licensed works?

    For example, if I’m writing in a pre-existing world, I ALWAYS know the full story before I begin writing it. I already know the characters (well, except for the original ones I invent, of course). I already know the world. However, when writing original works, I NEVER know the full story. I never even fully know the characters, when I first start out. I have to get to know them, and then smooth everything over in revisions once I do know the full story. It’s taken some adjustment to learn the different methods of each for myself personally and to switch between the different mindsets when going between one and the other. At the moment, I try to concentrate on one at a time, and not jump from one to the other mid-story. Do you simultaneously write ST novels AND original stories, or do you also try to keep each in their own little project world? Just very curious how that worked for you and to see if it was similar to what I experience myself. I’d love to someday be able to do both. 🙂

    Thanks for your insight, the lovely panels, and the great chat at Comicon. I look forward to reading many of your books in the future, and sorry this ended up being quite a novel in and of itself! 😉

    Like

    • Dayton Ward says:

      I did have one other question for you that I didn’t get a chance to ask at Comicon. I was going to ask if you had any difficulty switching from writing your original works to writing your ST works? I wrote original stories for about four years before learning “fanfiction” was a thing, and then I got lost in that for TEN YEARS. Not that it was a bad thing, I most definitely learned more about writing during that ten years than I had in the four previously, but when finally attempting to get back to my original works, I found it very difficult to readjust to the different way of going about writing my original stories again, and I wondered if you experienced that same kind of difference between original and licensed works?

      I don’t actually have much trouble “switch-hitting” between original and licensed work, and I do write both in and around each other. Each has its own challenges that are just different, as opposed to “better” or “worse.” The main difference is similar to what you mention, in that I generally know the entire story–at least the broad strokes–for a tie-in, whereas with my original stuff I tend not to sweat so many details early on. I still outline, but my outlines for original work tend to be much looser, and I don’t worry so much about deviating from them if the mood strikes.

      (Of course, I’ll deviate from the outline on a tie-in, too, if I feel the need. At this point, I usually know how far astray I can go without raising too many hackles, and my editors are very trusting and supportive when I tell them “Hey, I think my original idea for the ending sucks, and I’m going a different way,” or something like that 😀 )

      Liked by 1 person

      • jrfrontera says:

        Haha, that makes sense! Thanks for the reply!

        Now that I’ve relaxed about not knowing ALL the details about EVERYTHING in my original stories before starting the draft, it’s not so bad!

        Like

        • Dayton Ward says:

          Even if you think you’ve got it all figured out beforehand, you’re still just as liable to come up with something you like better. Or, the story just starts taking you in weird and unexpected directions as you get into the characters and flesh them out, etc.

          To paraphrase Captain Barbosa, I view outlines as guidelines, not rules. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

        • jrfrontera says:

          Indeed!
          If I can manage to work out the two turning points and a vague idea of the ending, I’m happy these days. But yes you’re so right, the story just kind of takes over by a certain point anyway, so a lot of times my outlines are definitely more just general guidelines! The story actually solved a lot of plot issues itself this last novel … I’d stress over how to get to a certain point or how to get the characters out of a corner it seemed I’d written them into or something and then as soon as I stopped thinking about it and just let the characters react as they would have naturally, they solved all the problems for me! 🙂 Good thing someone knows what they’re doing!

          Like

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