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  • Tabitha Caplinger

My Process (It's not just about coffee.)

Okay, so maybe it's just about coffee. After all, I don't know if a lot of words would make it onto a page without that wondrous nectar that is my sanity. But there is more to writing than coffee.

There's also pajamas. I don't know that I have ever written while dressed in something other than comfy PJs or sweats. Could I? I mean, I'm sure that it's possible to get dressed and slap on some makeup and then sit down to write but what if that was the thing that would ruin it all? I'm not willing to risk it. But my writing process isn't really about pajamas or coffee.

It's about intentionality, mixed with an overactive imagination and a splash of crazy.

Most days I am at home with a one or both of my fabulously zany daughters, curled up in my oversized chair, coffee by my side and laptop on my lap trying not to get sucked into the vortex of procrastination known as Pinterest. When I'm successful some scenes might play out in my head while I talk myself through conversations and a few words actually get spilled onto the page.

I read once that Ted Dekker, I think it was Ted Dekker anyway, has a writing goal of 2000 words a day. I laughed out loud at that because at the time I was potty training daughter number one and 2000 words all in one little day just seemed comical. But I liked the goal, I liked having something with which to gauge my success. So I thought, 'hey, I can do 2000 words a week. Maybe. Probably. Let's go for it!'

That's where the intentionality comes in. Kids and ministry and marketing (i.e. getting lost on Pinterest) can all steal away time I should spend writing. (I'm going to pretend that my TV addiction has nothing to do with it because that makes me feel better, like I'm in control and stuff.) So, while I don't really make money writing right now I pretend that I do. I pretend that this is my actual career and I give it the appropriate time and energy. I make it a priority at least two days a week and when I'm in full book mode I can hit that 2000 word a week goal pretty consistently. When I can't, it's okay and I make up for it on days when my characters are behaving themselves and the story is flowing along.

But getting those words on the page isn't where it ends for me. You're thinking I'm going to talk about editing and revisions and all that jazz. Nope. All that comes along eventually and I have a love/hate relationship with it. But what has become my routine is to send my completed chapter to some young ladies that have become my first fangirls. They are adorable and invested and emotional and they send me email rants about whatever I just sent them that make me laugh. Because I don't want to disappoint them, or because they have threatened me if I don't keep going, I write the next chapter. (I'd post some examples of their email responses so that you could also enjoy the fangirliness of it all but they would spoil all kinds of things for you so you'll have to wait until later for that experience.) This is how one book turned into two books which is on its way to becoming three books.

All that and me acting out sword fights in my living room. (I told you there was a splash of crazy.)

PS: The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline is once again available for purchase so if you haven't already joined the world of my imagination I would love for you to check it out. It would make me happy and I would sing and dance. Then you can send me your fangirl rants too.

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