Did you know that Oceans of Sand is not my first book? Actually, it's my fourth.
None of the others were published. Each one got better, but looking back, none of them were ready. I worked hard and improved my craft with each one, and it was worth the journey.
I think it's a common misconception that new authors write a book and then it's published, bam! That happens occasionally. (In fact, I think Harry Potter was J.K. Rowling's first book. Whoa.) But that's definitely not the norm.
For me, it took a lot of practice and many, many years of writing and writing classes before I wrote Oceans of Sand, my young adult fantasy novel that's coming June 2023. (I am over-the-moon excited!!!)
So, how did I write all the books that came before Oceans of Sand and then finally Oceans of Sand itself? Let's dive in!
Jessica Flory's PAST Writing Routine
When I wrote my first novel (started it in high school, wow. I'm not counting all the stuff I wrote in elementary school and junior high.) I didn't have any kids, so my writing routine was a lot more flexible. I wrote somewhat consistently, whenever I felt like it.
When kids came along, (Four! As many novels as I have written I have given birth to children, lol.) my writing routine had to adapt. Kids are A LOT of work, and so is writing a novel, so I had to make writing a priority to stay with it. Kids are always number one, but I tried to get in a little writing every day while they were sleeping or having quiet time.
I Wrote Four Novels in Fifteen Minutes a Day
Fifteen minutes a day was my goal for years and years, and that's how novels two and three were written.
Fifteen minutes a day! It took a long time, but I'm a pretty fast writer. I can write usually about 1000 to 1500 words in thirty minutes. Not bad!
I also had the luxury of writing when I wanted. If I felt I needed a break, I took it. To celebrate finishing a first draft, my husband always treats me to a dinner out, and then I take a long break from writing to give my brain a little breather. It's what's worked best for me in the past.
At the time, I didn't know if publication would ever happen. It's a dream, a long-shot, a wish upon a star. And it's definitely not easy to do. So much of it is beyond your control as a writer (unless you publish independently, which I personally didn't want to do.)
Oceans of Sand was written like that, fifteen minutes at a time, during my kids' quiet time. I'm in a writing group, and every other week we sent 2000 words to each other to critique. They kept me on track and inspired me in so many ways (and continue to do so!)
Shout out to Heidi Rogers, Patrice Hale, Valerie Doll, Tracy Daley, Jordan Wright, David Munk, and Tamara Bailey. You guys are the absolute BEST!!
Jessica Flory's Writing Routine Nowadays
Lately, my writing routine has had to change some. Signing that contract with Immortal Works was honestly a dream come true. I'm still floating on a cloud. Whenever I think about my publication date, June 2023, I get the butterflies in the best way possible.
And that contract has DEADLINES. Eeek!! My writing schedule isn't my own anymore, and I have had to up my game.
Now I wake up before my kids and get writing done. Sometimes they still wake up before me (WHY???), so I have to lock the door to my husband's office, steal his chair and desk, and ignore the banging and screaming until I'm done writing.
Haha I joke, they are usually pretty good about entertaining themselves while I write if they wake up while I'm in there, but there are some days that we just won't talk about.
I try to get in 30 to 45 minutes of writing done in the morning. It doesn't sound like much, but so far it's been enough to meet my deadlines. If I'm working on the draft to Oceans of Sand 2, I can usually get one scene done (anywhere from 1000 to 2000 words). If I'm revising Oceans of Sand, I can usually get a few scenes cleaned up.
Deadlines Coming Up!!
Another deadline is coming up at the end of September - I've got to get my round 2 edits back to my editor, Lindsay Flanagan! Wow. It still feels surreal to say that I have an EDITOR. Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh. Somebody pinch me!
A book takes so much work, but to me, it's all worth it. It's something I would be doing even if I didn't have the deadlines and the joy of holding my book in my hands, of sharing it with readers.
Do you have a dream? I hope this post gives you heart and hope. Dreams like publishing a book may seem like a long-shot, but a lot of hard work and dedication (and a little luck) can make anything happen. Don't give up! You'll never regret the 15 minutes a day you spend working toward a dream.
What's your wish-upon-a-star dream? Are you a writer? What's your writing routine like? Let me know in the comments below!