Like a lot of you, I’ve been having difficulty focusing on the writing. Even when I’ve used enough discipline to get to the page, I still find the words aren’t flowing that well.

However, I’ve noticed a pattern this last week with the current novel.

Once I know what it is that I’m supposed to write, I find it really easy. Hell, I’m able to write at a normal pace, between 1000-1500 words an hour, after I figure out what a particularly chapter is supposed to contain.

This particular novel is a little complicated. There are four main Houses as it were – Crystal, Cobalt, Gold and Pearl. Each chapter is written from the POV of someone from a particular house, so chapter one will be one person from the House of Crystal, chapter two will be one person from the House of Cobalt, cycling through all four houses then going back to the top.

In addition, I have at 3-4 different POVs from the various houses. I use a spreadsheet to keep track of the various POVs and chapters.

I went back and looked at my initial plotting notes for this novel. They were hand written, and I’d never looked back at them or used them consciously. I just vaguely remembered enough that I’d ended in roughly the spot where I was.

Hmmmm. Seemed that I had only plotted out to where I currently was, that is, about halfway through the novel. I had no idea what was coming next.

In normal circumstances, I don’t think that would have mattered. I would have made up everything as I went along. I like writing into the dark.

Right now, I need a little more guidance.

So I got way overly caffeinated one morning this week, and I “plotted out” the rest of the novel. I keep that in quotes because I wrote a one-sentence summary of the remaining chapters. I still have a lot of stuff that I get to make up on the fly.

For example, this morning all I know is that the character I’m writing from is pissed off and unsure how to handle the situation in front of her. I know what happens at the end of the chapter and how it’s resolved.

I don’t know how I’m going to get from here to there, but I’m looking forward to the journey.

I’ve had great fun writing the last few days, now that I know where I’m going. I’m pretty sure I’ll still have bad days, days when there are no words.

For now, the extra plotting has really helped.

How about you? What have you tried that’s helped with the writing or with any art you’re currently doing?