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October 29th, 2015:

Preview for 2016: Back to the Writing Lifestyle

I feel the pull to write again, and not just blog posts – but books.

I’ve been mulling over some ideas for the last few weeks and I think I have at least two books that are starting to formulate and gel in my head.

This is going to be me in 2016 - 6:365, Photo by eren {sea+prairie} from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

This is going to be me in 2016 – 6:365, Photo by eren {sea+prairie} from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I love the writing process. Lately, I’ve been reflecting on my experience with my first big writing project. I was in graduate school and working with someone who lived on the other side of the country. So every night after I finished studying, I would work on our project and send him my latest draft or notes before going to bed. By the time I got up the next morning, he had read my work and sent me feedback which I would review over my morning coffee.

Getting back into writing books both excites and frightens me. When I wrote my first three books, I was at the beginning of my career as a lawyer and I had a lot more free time. I could easily devote half a day Monday-Friday working on a book. Typically, I created detailed outlines on Monday, wrote two chapters between Tuesday and Friday, and took the weekend off from book writing to write blog posts.

Now, I have a full client load and a busy speaking schedule. I am honestly not sure how I’m going to do this while staying in sane and making enough time to sleep. There is no way I can write 3,500 words a day with my current commitments. I will probably have to create a schedule where I only write 1,000 words each day, and still take the weekends off to rest and let ideas percolate.

Oh yes, there will be a writing schedule. Actually, one of the hardest things about working on these projects right now is I’m still trying to figure out what I want the final products to look like. Once a figure that out, I can work backwards to create an outline and from that a writing schedule so each week I will know what topics I need to cover.

The process for writing my last two books was insane. I signed two book contracts where I was committed to write both books over the course of six months. I remember finishing my first of those books on a Friday, sending the draft to my editor, and starting the next book on the following Monday. And while I was writing the second book, I also had to review edits on my first book. It was a crazy schedule, but I loved the creative process.

I suspect if I am going to pull this off, my life next year may have to be based on a strict schedule, possibly similar to my a lifestyle while I was studying for the bar exam. I may dabble with ideas of only responding to phone calls and emails during specific times and spending more time in seclusion, eliminating outside distractions to focus on my work.

Yes, I know writing books may be counterintuitive given that I was told to cut myself some slack or risk having a heart attack only a few weeks ago, but when I feel compelled to write I have to honor that. This idea has been gnawing at me for a few months now. And my history shows that when I’m creating, I’m often the most happy. Back when I was working on that first project, I was exhausted but also so exhilarated and excited to start and end my day writing and reviewing feedback. It never felt like work.