At the end of last year, just before my noisy neighbours started drunkenly singing Auld Lang Syne, I “completed” my second book. Well, I took it as far as i wanted to, anyway. Thematically it was a big departure from my first, and I wasn’t 100% happy with it. So, I decided to sit on it for a while and jump straight into a new project.

But this time, I wanted to do things differently.

One of my current favorite writers is Kameron Hurley (I highly recommend her Bel Dame trilogy). I recently read on her blog the demanding schedule she’s under right now. A book in a year? Wow. A book in EIGHT months? Forget about it.

Still, it got me thinking. That second book of mine took over eighteen months. My first book took years. My do a little every day approach certainly served me well as a casual writer and unpublished author. But if I wanted to do this properly (dare I say professionally?) maybe I was setting the bar too low.

With that in mind, I set a target of one year to complete this new book, all edits and drafts included. And to achieve that I worked out I’d need to (amongst other things) double my daily word count.

For the first two months it worked brilliantly. I was churning out pages every day like a pro. But then I hit a snag. Writing twice as much as before wasn’t without consequence. Sure, I did a third of the book in double quick time, but by the end of February I came to a skidding stop. I didn’t know what to write next.

I’m not a big planner. I never have been. I might outline a few chapters, but certainly not an entire book. One of the reason I’ve always taken a steady approach rather than doing 10,000 word splurges, is it gave me the time to work out what happened next before I actually got to that point. By writing so much more in a shorter space of time I effectively outpaced my creative thought process. Hence, writer’s block.

Fitting in the increased amount of writing each day was very satisfying, but “forcing” my imagination to work overtime turned out to be, surprisingly, quite stressful. So, until I’ve worked out where the story is ultimately going, I’ve reverted back to my old, trusty approach. Unexpectedly, I’m actually coming up with more ideas as a result, so I’ll probably end up writing more in the long term.

Ultimately, I’m probably going to have to suck it up and start doing much more planning, or outlining. But at least I still have nine months to figure it all out.