Ask any writer about their method of writing and you'll get a different answer each time. Colleen McCullough, who death is currently being mourned, was a manic writer, who could pen 20,000 words in one 18-hour sitting. I'm sure there are other manic writers out there, especially during November, when NaNo is going on, but I'm not one of them.
I use Scrivener to write my first drafts. This program not only allows me to color-code in whose head I am with each scene, it allows me to set a schedule for the project, and then it calculates the amount of words I need to write each day in order to accomplish my goal and get the work done on schedule. It will even flash a "Goal Met"indicator and ring a bell for you.
My current WIP is the 8th book in the Cotillion Ball Series, and is the first book in which I face the effects of the Civil War head on. The setting is MacDougall Hospital, set on Fort Schuyler in the Bronx. At the height of the Civil War conflict, this hospital cared for 2,000 wounded soldiers. The tone of the book is much darker than my normal, because of the subject matter, but I'm finding it exhilarating to write. That is, after the first 500 words.
My writing goal, according to the almighty Scrivener, is nearly 1,000 words a day. Which roughly translates to one scene a day. I like to write this way, since I can stay clearly in one person's head throughout. Today, it was Elijah's turn. I planned how I was going to start the scene last night, as I was drifting off to sleep, so I tore up the screen for the first 80 words or so. Then, I stared at the blinking cursor for several minutes, uncertain where to head. The next sentence came to me as if through a vat of molasses, then the one after that. I kept pulling down the "Targets" tab on my Scrivener program to see how many words I had yet to go. When I got to 200 words for the day, I got stuck, so I stared at the pulsating cursor for a few more minutes. The rest of the scene unfolded in my head, finally, and I began to type quickly. When the bell rang that I had met my goal, I wasn't ready to stop, so I kept going until the scene was finished.
I surprised myself that I completed the scene, and that once I got past the first 500 words, I got so sucked into the scene that the ringing bell was an annoyance rather than a blissful chime signaling that my day's torture was done. And the little extra bonus from not stopping until the scene was done? Tomorrow, when I settle in to write the next scene, I'll have a few fewer words to write to get to my daily goal.
So, how about you? Do you write in all-out sprints like Colleen McCullough, or do you plod along like I do? I'm curious to see how many different styles I'll be able to record in the comments.