Wow, Alice! You provided another tough blog act to follow. But I'll give it a whirl.
I mentioned in my comment that I recently discovered something about myself. I prefer to do fun, easy things that show immediate results. How can someone with that personality trait write a 300-or-so page book? Good question, and that may be why it's previously taken me a long time to produce a book.
So I've decided to come up with ways to make each part of the writing process fun and easy.
Being an office supply junkie, my first step in writing a book is to stop by an office supply store to buy an easel pad, several dozen packages of sticky notes in a variety of colors, highlighters -- in at least a dozen different colors, and clear pushpins (unless, of course, I can find pushpins in the same color as the sticky notes so they don't distract from the color scheme I will use for plotting).
On the way home, I stop by the mall to leave breath prints on the display cases at the candy store -- no drooling allowed and I can't actually purchase any chocolate because I gave up sugar years ago. However, I do encourage others to eat twice as much chocolate so my share doesn't go to waist -- I mean waste. As consolation for no chocolate, I stop by the book store before leaving the mall to buy an extra book (or two or half dozen) for "research."
Back in the car, I drive as close as possible to the nearest Starbucks to smell the coffee. I don't drink coffee, but love the smell! I also make a mental note to stop by the used book store in case they have some gotta-have-em research books in the $2 bin or in the freebie box out front.
Once at home, I greet and feed the herd of dogs. After eating, it's nap time or, for a nice change, a soak in a bubble bath. This is prime time for percolating ideas -- I am plotting a book, after all. If the grandkids have left soap crayons in bathroom, ideas can be written on the tile walls. Drawing lines on the grout between tiles counts as cleaning if I turn on the shower when I'm finished and rinse the tiles. Note to self: don't forget to copy ideas down on paper before rinsing the walls! By the time I am soaked to prune-wrinkled consistency, the major plot points should have bubbled into my mind and can be written down on the easel pages which now line the wall of my office.
Whew! I probably should celebrate all I've accomplished by calling a friend and going out to dinner. After all, I'll need to keep up my strength to start playing What-If with the sticky notes tomorrow.
The morning dawns bright and sunny. However, I remember that some authors dream fully realized plots, so I retrieve the blankets from the dogs who have stolen them in the night and go back to sleep. I wake up two hours later to the excited barking of my youngest dogs, who are chasing the squirrels from window to window around the house, but no memories of a dream.
However, that's OK. I've decided to make a game of seeing how many pads of sticky notes I can fill with ideas in one day. A different color for each character and each plot point. Fun and easy, right?
Since my e-book publisher responds very quickly and wants to see a full manuscript with submissions, my plotting goes beyond the first three chapters and slides into the Three Weird Sisters (to borrow Alice's term for beginning, middle and end). To plot the entire book, forms are fun! So I print out forms onto which I can transfer all the ideas from my sticky notes. A form for each character, a form for each scene. Gosh, I may have to go back to the office supply store to buy colored paper to coordinate with the colors of my sticky notes. And maybe I should do storyboards for each major character and each setting in my story...
OK, much of the above was written in jest. However, I do have fun with plotting. Then at some point in all this fun, I realize I haven't actually written much of the story yet. So I "get serious" and sit down at the keyboard to write. But does switching to "serious" really help the writing go faster and smoother? Or does it just add tension to the shoulders?
What do you think? Have you ever written a book that you enjoyed ALL the way through? Do you celebrate smaller victories, such as writing 1000 words in a day? Is the challenge check-in a celebration for you? Do you treat yourself to something special when you reach the half-way point of the book or when you finish a scene that was particularly difficult? If you do something special, what is it? If you decided to celebrate smaller accomplishments before you actually write "the end," what would your reward be?