Write the next line

Recently, Dean Wesley Smith blogged about writing a 70,000 word novel in 10 days.

It was fascinating to read how he did it, his attitudes toward writing, etc. A lot of it is apply butt to chair, trust the process, trust your writerly brain.

Dean writes into the dark, has no idea what the ending is of the project he’s working on. I usually know where I’m going, and have learned that if I don’t, it’s a mess. That’s just my process, which is different than his.

One of the things that really struck me and has stayed with me is the concept of “Write the next line.” From Dean, in the comments on Day 1:

William, do as I do when stuck. Just write the next line. Stuck means you can’t figure out something larger ahead. Stop worrying about that and just write the next line. Focus small and build with small blocks to get something larger.

Write the next line.

For the novel that I’m turning into the copyeditor on Monday, I’ve decided that I need to write a new chapter. I have a question to answer in this chapter, and it took me a while to figure out what the answer was. Now, while I may have a vague idea where I’m going, I have no idea how to get there. That’s very normal for me, how I usually write.

However, I do know the next line. So I can write the next line. And the next. And the next. And suddenly, there are over 2000+ words in this chapter. Still don’t know exactly how I’m going to finish it, but I feel confident that I will, and long before Monday.

Speaking of which…it’s time to go write the next line.

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