I finally started writing my new novel today, which will be a middle-grade (MG) novel, for ages 10-12, but one that I hope will also have appeal for parents and families in general. It's a story that I've been carrying in my head for quite a few years--I wrote up a long outline back in 2004 that I'll use to guide me through.
I've spent the last few weeks reading quite a bit of MG fiction, a lot of which is great. I think Kate DiCamillo is one of my favorite writers now (Because of Winn-Dixie, Despereax, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane).
Starting a new project is always a bit tricky, as I have to figure out what sort of working rhythm is right for this book. It's important to accept that the opening pages are likely to be complete crap and just go ahead and write them and get it over with. Some people go back and rewrite constantly, but I'm the opposite. I like to keep moving forward every day and will go back and fix it all later. For me, it's just important to get the story down on paper, without judgment. I'll reread what I wrote the day before, but I will try not to make many revisions to it.
With this project, my goal is to put in at least 2 hours a day, five days a week, for as long as I can. The kids are only in school for about four more weeks. Summer vacation complicates things, but in the summer, I'll try to write from 5am-7am, so I can put in the time and keep making progress. I try to write first thing in the morning, to minimize distractions. No e-mail, internet, or to-do lists until I'm done writing for the day.
Today I was able to jump right in, and actually worked for three hours and wrote about 2,300 words. I've got some forward momentum now.