I begin writing around 4pm and write until 2 in the morning. If I do anything earlier in the day, its junk and has to be discarded.
I’m an Apple guy: Macs and Pages.
Music is a must, usually jazz but sometimes classical, even Gregorian chants.
I write at my country home, but I change rooms just to break things up.
Coffee, lotsa coffee.
I try to do 3000 words a day. The best I ever did was 9000. Almost all of it survives. By the time I am writing, I know what I want to say.
I usually already have the opening lines or paragraphs in my mind and have had for hours before I start writing on a given day.
I like to see the draft on paper before I edit. Then I edit on screen.
When it stops coming, or when a chapter is complete.
I do the research and the thinking through before writing, although there may be a detail I stop writing to go find. Usually, however, if it the text is flowing out of me, I do not stop to research a detail. I write what I think is correct and then mark it to verify and amplify in editing.
Well, we would all like to be Hemingway. He wrote clearly. Hemingway used short, spare sentences. Nonetheless, he conveyed imagery. There is a beauty in his unadorned prose.
Writing is not easy, but it need not be grueling. Indeed, once you are in a grove, it can be a great pleasure to write. Some brains are wired better for writing than others, but we can all learn to do it better. The best way to learn how to write, my tenth grade English teacher told me, is to write and to do it often.
I enjoyed writing since my days in high school, but I spent 30 years in the government. The writing style in federal agencies is stilted. Not until I left government could I begin to explore writing in a serious manner.
I have written four non-fiction and four fiction. Let’s be clear: fiction is more fun to write. Fiction allows for greater creativity and is free of bothersome fact checking. Of my four novels STING OF THE DRONE is perhaps my favorite, but it is a bit like choosing your favorite child.
I have never read one. Perhaps it shows.
I assume a basic understanding of international affairs, defense, and intelligence among my readers. I also assume they can Google what they do not know. It is not my job in writing to be giving a tutorial for the novice, but I do try to explain more complex things for the intermediate level expert reader. My goal is that a reader will learn from my books, even from the fiction.
I always hire my own fact checker(s). Then the publisher hires one after my review. I try to imagine comments, questions, and criticisms that the book will generate. Then I try to rehearse the reply or answer. My friends are great critics of my writing and I always make sure they have read the drafts and galleys and been brutally frank with me about their reactions. They know I can take it.