Loki's Journey Part Seven - After Writing

HAWKEYE: Leaving Stark and Thor to bicker it out, I turn to find out what's up with Loki. He's unusually quiet and that's never a good thing. Especially if he's quiet and has a smile on his face.

But to my surprise when I turn around, he's still sitting at the laptop typing away, and with quite the concentrated gaze. Huh. Either something's up, or he's actually working.

Working on his next dastardly plan is probably more like it.

"You there, Hawkeye. Stop staring at my brother," Thor says. "It will unnerve him and you do not want to see him unnerved."

I stare at him. "It'll unnerve Loki? Or you?"

"Why would you, sitting there like a man who wants to kill something, unnerve Barbie here?" Stark laughs. He may have writer's block, but he doesn't seem to have lost his sarcastic streak.

"I never said it unnerved..."

".....you kinda did, Blondie...."

"...I am not afraid to use..."

"...I could have sworn..."

"Will you both shut up?" Captain America tries to get in the way of them but it's Loki's voice that pulls them from bickering.

"Petty mortals, ahem, superheroes, I have completed it." Loki sits at the desk with a smug smile. It takes a moment for everyone realize what he said.

I raise my eyebrows. "You finished? This quickly?"

He scowls at me. "I am a god. I have a godly knack for writing. But if you really do not believe me, please see for yourself."

Of course I don't believe him. I never do, and I never will. I get up and cross the room. Sure enough, to my surprise two bold words on the screen pop out. The two words that can fill a writer with sorrow, joy or extreme relief. The End.

LOKI: It only took a few weeks, but I finished the manuscript. It ended triumphantly in which the hero, Isaac, aided a superior god race in vanquishing human kind. It will inevitably sell millions upon millions of copies, after which teenagers across the world will fall at my feet the way they do for that sparkly guy with bad teeth.

"Now I will simply send it out to publishers and take my place as the rightful ruler of this planet," I say.

Stark snorts. "That escalated quickly."

"And that's not how it works," Grandpa says. "For one thing, you submit to agents first, generally speaking. And for another, you aren't the rightful ruler of this planet."

"And you think agents will want to read this?" The female slams my laptop shut.

I stand and kick my chair away. "What is that supposed to mean?"

Thor puts his hands between us. "She meant that it hasn't been revised. This is only a first draft." The female crosses her arms and turns away. "There is still work to be done, brother."

"But I've worked hard on this for weeks. It's perfect!"

"No," the Hulk says, "it's not. No one has good first drafts."

"Well, I do."

"Then let us read it," he says.

Them read it? I would much rather knock myself repeatedly on the head with Thor's hammer.

THOR: Loki's face turned an unattractive shade of red at the doctor's suggestion.

"Brother," I say, clapping Loki on the shoulder. "You have indeed accomplished something great. But the process is not yet complete."

"That's right," the Captain says, stepping forward. "Sixty-five thousand words is a good start, but we can help you make sure they're the right sixty-five thousand."

"Aaaaaand that's gonna take some time," the Hawk Man says.

"I am a god," Loki says. "What I have here is the epitome of perfection in literary form. It needs no revisions nor mortal beta-readers."

The Captain sighs. "Loki, we've already told you. No manuscript is ever perfect on the first draft. It'll need tightening, editing, cutting --"

"I am not cutting anything!" Loki cries.

I hold up my hands. "Let us not get ahead of ourselves, friends. My brother has accomplished something very few people ever do. He deserves a break before revisions begin."

The red-haired-female smirks. "Yeah, he's gonna need it."

"Right. If we're celebrating, I'm getting a drink." Stark says. He takes up his coat. "You comin' Banner?"

The Hulk in human form looks between us one at a time. His mouth opens and closes twice before he says, "We'll just... they're in the kitchen. We'll be right back." He follows Stark.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: As big as Stark's ego is, that's pretty much all it is. An ego. Leaving me with Clint and Natasha, who immediately start whispering to one another, is pure cowardice.

I look at Loki. Loki looks at me. Thor looks amused. I don't understand how he can look so... happy half the time.

I sigh. "Look, Loki. Are you really the type of guy who takes breaks?"

"I am a god, old man. I do not need a break. World domination does not call for vacationing," he pronounces.

"Exactly," I say with a nod. The look of amusement on Thor's face turns to confusion. It isn't every conversation that Loki and I can agree on something.

Loki catches on fast, shooting a suspicious glare my way. "You are scheming, aren't you?"

"I don't scheme," I deadpan. Loki chuckles slowly. Natasha looks up at the sound before Clint is leading her out of the room.

Just me and the so-called gods.

"What I'm saying is, you can't take a break. You can't afford to. You need to edit that manuscript as best as you can. And while it's not advisable-"

"Why is it not advisable, Captain?" Thor cuts in, a hand on his chin.

"Soon after you finish a manuscript, you're connected with it. All those days of hard work have rendered you blind to your own flaws."

"I have no-" Loki begins. I hold up my hand.

"Flaws, I know. I said your manuscript has flaws." I say. There's a tick in his jaw, but he stays silent. "Right now, editing is pretty much useless. But while you can't edit, you can still research agents."

"Research?" Loki explodes. "Do you see spectacles in front of my eyes? Do I have those wiry metal contraptions on my teeth?"

I can't help it. I sputter a laugh. "Do you mean glasses and braces? Glasses are for seeing better and braces are for a better smile. Not research."

Banner sticks his head in. "Did someone say research?"

HULK: Helping the Crazy God of Insanity (a.k.a Loki) isn't on top of my to-do list. But, what can I say? Research makes me happy. And excited. Oh, better keep calm about this, or the Other Guy will crash the party.

I take Loki's laptop.

He stifles a gasp of horror. "Do not break my piece of mortal technology, monster."

I open 52 tabs and start loading sites about publishing houses, agents, query letters, pitches --

"Ah, Banner?" Captain America looks a little worried. I guess he still doesn't trust the Other Guy not to make random appearances. "Maybe start low-key with the researching? Loki will be overwhelmed --"

"I WILL NOT." Loki strikes a god-like pose. "Do I look like a weak mortal to you?"

"You keep using 'mortal'," I mutter, "and I don't think it means what you think it means." I flip the laptop around so Loki can see it. "You're going to want to bookmark these sites. Also, you need to read them. There's no point picking out agents you could potentially query if they're not interested in your genre."

"Who would not be interested in my book?" Loki says.

"Me!" Tony Stark calls from the kitchen.

I take off my glasses and rub my eyes. "That's why you need to read up about agents. Agents specialise in different genres. See? This agent wants middle-grade books, but this one wants young-adult. And then we get into sub-genres. Fantasy. Dystopian. Paranormal. You need to find an agent that wants what you're writing. An agent that will be passionate about your book..."

I break off. I'm getting way too excited.

A reflective look crosses Loki's face. Wait? He's considering what I've said? This is...progress. I turn to Captain America, my mouth open in amazement. He shrugs and mouths, Maybe he's sick?

"There must be hundreds of agents," Loki says.

"Well, yes." I'm wary now.

"And they all have email addresses, do they not?"

"Most take emails instead of normal mail," Captain America says. "I don't understand why."

"So," Loki says, an evil smile spreading across his face, "I can locate the email addresses of hundreds and hundreds of pathetic mortal agents and MASS EMAIL them my query!"

I consider banging my head against the wall. "Maybe you should just...go back to taking a break." Where's Stark? I think we could all use those drinks now.

BLACK WIDOW: I can't help but overhear -- eavesdropping comes naturally -- so I quietly make my way back into the other room.

Loki may have the social skills of a KGB interrogator, but even he has to know that a mass query is a terrible idea. Since he thinks so little of my opinion, I decide to play it subtly -- make him think it was his idea.

"So, Loki." I casually lean against his desk. "You're thinking about mass querying?"

"I am not merely considering it, spider." Loki scoffs. "It is inevitable."

"Natasha, you have to talk him out of this one." Bruce gives me a pleading look. "He won't see reason."

Steve seems to concur. "Mass querying is a terrible idea. It doesn't bring anything personal to the table, and worse, it's impolite. Loki, I know you don't want our advice --"

"The mortal finally has come to his senses!" Loki interrupts. "Your pitiful 'advice' is worthless to one such as myself. I am burdened with a glorious manuscript, and --"

"We know." Steve holds up a hand to silence Loki for a moment. "As I was saying, I know you don't like us, but we really have a point on this one."

"I don't know." I meet Bruce's surprised look with a sly smile. I got this. "Personally, I think mass querying is a great idea."

"What?!" Steve waves his hands in dismay. "Natasha, you can't seriously be on his side!"

"Of course I am! I completely and totally think it's a great idea." I try to let Steve know that I really do have an idea of what I'm doing, but I'm not sure he's getting it.

It's working, though. Loki frowns at me. "You... agree?"

"Yep." I give Loki a dazzling smile -- even daring to flutter my eyelashes a little. "Fantastic plan, Loki."

"Do you seriously believe my idea is a good idea?" Loki's getting more skeptical by the second. "... I-I think I am going to reconsider. There are a few pitiful, mortal agents who may be a little less pathetic than the rest. Every clever plan needs a little research."

He gives me a confident smirk, and I do my best not to return it. My work here is done.

Get off the Couch and WRITE!

Do you ever find yourself wanting to write so bad but when you try, nothing happens? Maybe you rewrite the first chapter over and over again, and can't find the "inspiration" to continue on? Or perhaps you have so much love for this particular story you just don't know how to put it on paper?

I'm sure every writer has been there. It's that time when you're trying to get yourself out of a writing slump, but nothing is happening. You feel like a writer, your brain is moving like sixty...but your fingers? Not so much.

What is behind this exactly? Is it real lack of inspiration? A pure slump perhaps? Is it a fear of failure? Laziness?

To be honest, I've been in this sort of a situation lately. I have two stories that are my babies. I love them so much but they just can't seem to get out of my head onto the paper. I'll sit down, ready to work hard, and then find myself starting at the pages I've already writing, and editing.

This is where Natasha would force me to go shoot arrows or something, to get all the stress off. But all I wish, really, is that I could shoot this stupid writing bug I have. I'm literally more into visualizing my story on Pinterest, than bringing to life on paper. Enter Shannon Hale;

You have to train your brain to be a writer.
You can’t learn how to have a sense of story and character,
but you can learn how to be a crafter and discipline yourself. -Shannon Hale

What really strikes me from this quote is the fact that she says you can LEARN to be a writer. Sure we may think we’re writers, “Oh yeah I have stories in my brain that will someday be bestsellers”, but in reality? It’s a lot of work. You have to train your mind and body to fit the mold of an author that you want to be. 

In a way, it's like exercising, or in my case, conditioning, to reach the height of power you want. So here are my suggestions on how to train yourself. 

Visualize Your End Goal

What do you want to accomplish with your writing? A book published eventually? That's a vague goal, but a start for one. Maybe you want that book published by such-and-such date. You may want to be able to write a certain amount of words in an hour, or be able to finish a 50K word novel in a month. Whatever your goal, picture it. Post it up somewhere, do something to make it a real thing that you can imagine.

Start Small

Your big goal isn't going to come easy to you, especially if you're trying to break the hard habits of writing. Set a time limit for yourself. Maybe each day you want to write for a half hour at the minimum.  So set that timer and write the dang words! If you want write more? But keep this up for at least a week until you're ready to increase your goals!

Don't Stop

This is critical. You have your beautiful goal in mind, and you've set smaller steps to get your way there. Now you've just got to build the habit and never stop. If writing is truly what you love, you'll get there. And the result will be much better than you ever dreamed! After all, the tortoise didn't win the race by quitting, now did he?

Now, I've got to go, the team is getting on my back about this whole writing thing. I've got goals to make and words to write, and so do you. So good luck! I'll see you at the finish line.

Till Later, Hawkeye

True Colors: Writing introverts and extraverts

Black Widow, reporting for duty. I've taken some time to dedicate myself to my work, and I've discovered some truly important facts about human nature.

For instance? It's not always portrayed well in fiction.

There's an idea permeating popular culture that people come in two flavors: fully extraverted and fully introverted.  Either you love people, parties, talking, and games or you'd rather hole away and read a book
all day. There's also a new trend acting as if the former is shallow and the latter more cultured and desirable.

Trust me, I get it. Really shy introverts need someone to look up to as much as extraverts do. But don't think for a minute that those are your only options. Trapping your character into one or the other extreme makes them less believable and therefore more difficult to connect with.

Every person is either an introvert or an extravert to some extent.  But before we get into the how-to, let's clear up some misconceptions about what those things actually are.

An extravert is someone who gets energy from being around other people. An introvert is someone who gets energy by being alone.

That's it.

There are extraverts who don't talk like motormouths and enjoy loud parties. There are introverts who like company and have opinions on everything.

Now that that's out of the way, let's get to a few myths, debunked.

1. It's a noble, beautiful thing to be an introvert.
Don't get me wrong. There are noble, beautiful introverts.  But they can't change who they are any more than an extravert can -- it's just a part of them. The things about them that make them so amazing are things they can control -- a helpful spirit, a kind demeanor. Don't fall into the trap of thinking just because you or your character is introverted, they are automatically awesome. There are awesome extraverts too!

2. Extraverts love talking, while introverts hate it.
This is a fair guess, but simply not true. Extraverts love people, not talking. An extravert can sit silent in a packed room and still just feel refreshed because they gather energy from others. Many extraverts do love to talk, but it's not their extraversion that makes them like that.
Conversely, some introverts love talking! Ever get tired after playing a sport you love? You'd do it again in a heartbeat, but you need a break. This is how a sociable introvert feels about going to events where a lot of people are.

3. Extraverts are always popular.
Extraverts get energy from people. That doesn't mean they get along well with them. Extraverts may have more friends than most introverts and enjoy being around more people, but that doesn't mean their crowd is the in-crowd -- it just means they have a crowd.

4. Introverts hate people.
No, people just make introverts tired. They might really like a lot of people, but it's more likely they'll have a group of close friends that they prefer to hang out with.

5. Introverts are shy. Extraverts are very outgoing.
While introverts do tend to be more reserved, they aren't all completely socially inept. However, it will most likely take an introvert longer to get comfortable with a lot of new people and they'll need time to adjust to the situation, so take this into account when writing one.
Conversely, extraverts do have a tendency to jump into new groups of people headfirst. A good thing to remember, though, is that extraverts are just as likely to be self-conscious as any introvert. That's a society thing, not an intro/extraversion thing.

So, the next time you take a Meyers-Briggs for your new protagonist, don't assume that your I or E means you have to force them into a certain category. Real people don't fit in pretty boxes -- and neither do realistic characters.

-- Natasha

Oi, writers! Do you remember to read?

While smashing around the internet (as I do), I notice some writers saying they don't have enough time to read.



I know I'm no writing-god like Thor (I won't add Loki in here, because frankly, he's crazy) and I hide out in India a lot and avoid confrontation, S.H.I.E.L.D, and scary red-headed assassins (oh, hi, Black Widow)... but I DO know one thing.

Writers should read.

“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
Stephan King

See? Even Stephan King says so.

Reading is good for poking creativity into action, yes, but it's also good for...


Ohmypurplepants, research is so fun. It's amazing! And exciting! And you can learn so much! And...oh. Hang on. Getting excited here.

...returns after a brief Hulk-smash....

So, what was I saying? Research. (Yes, yes, I'll keep calm. Don't fuss, Captain America.) I'm not talking about good-old-fashioned-research-of-facts. I'm talking about research for your market.

For example (we all love examples): Say you're writing Young Adult Paranormal. Say, you don't read YA Paranormal. Well, you've read one or two books, and you have a feel for the genre, and you like it. And BOOM inspiration comes upon you while you yodel in the shower. A book. A grand and glorious book. You write it only to find...

52 other paranormals have already done it.

I've heard it said that you shouldn't read the genre you write, in case you "copy". That's baloney, mate. You need to know what's out there, what you're up against.

Even if you thought of that "great-and-soon-to-be-bestseller-idea" all by your onesome, and THEN read it'd already been done, guess what? The idea is redundant. If it's been done, it's done.

Whatever genre you write, be it dystopian or contemporary or steampunk, I suggest reading a LOT in that genre. Don't overwhelm yourself. But never leave yourself in the dark.

Now, go smash something.

Mid-Book Slump or Time to Abandon Ms?

As writers, we get ideas all the time. When we say writers block, we don't mean not getting 'any' ideas, we mean not getting any good ones. We need ideas that stick with us.

Have you ever had that feeling when you've started to write a book that this isn't the idea for you? Or caught on to a new idea that seems to outshine your current manuscript? How do you know whether it's simply your mid-book slump and just a distraction, or if the new idea is simply better than the current project?

Pursue Both Ideas... For a Little While

Write a few chapters of each. Maybe alternate. Whichever devotes a decent amount of time to both projects. You'll feel your heart calling you to the right one. (Though I have found mortal hearts to be rather fickle, but this is a good temporary test.)

Write Down the New Idea, then Forget about it... For Now

Sometimes the new ideas do simply distract us from a current project. Not to say they aren't wonderful and deserve attention, but maybe we can postpone that attention until you finish this project.

Determine What is Bothering You about Your Current Idea

Why does your current manuscript no longer seem as... shiny as it once did? Is it something critical about the manuscript? Are you not connecting with your MC like you thought? Is the plot not unfolding you like anticipated?

Sometimes those kind of problems, the large problems, can be fixed as you go. Don't like the voice? Change it from this chapter onward. It's a lot easier to go back after having written the manuscript than to make changes when you've only drafted a third of it.

If the problems can't be fixed, then maybe it is time to move on. Shelve the current idea. Maybe you'll think of a way to reconstruct it later.

If there aren't any gaping problems and you simply prefer the new one, then try your best to finish the manuscript. You could simply be in a slump. With the amount of hours you need to devote to drafting a novel, no one expects you to be joyfully sprinting that marathon all the time. Grit your teeth and finish it.

Most of All, Go with Your Gut

So there aren't any huge problems. You're a third of the way through writing this manuscript. You have another idea, and no matter how much work you put into your current project, it's the new one that keeps drawing your attention. Go for it. Your instincts always know best, in the end.


Thor's Thoughts: Critique Partners

Greetings, friends.

My alter-ego has been revising a manuscript for a few months now. I have to say, the story she is writing has changed much since the first draft. Always, the changes are for the better. The source of said changes are the amazing critique partners she has gathered around herself.

A critique partner is a very important resource for a writer, and can also be very elusive. When one is beginning their writing journey, they often have no one to read for them except close friends and family. If these people are objective, that is fine. But often, they are not. The best option for a beginner is to find a writing community and begin to make friends.

Online or in person, if you can find a writing community where you fit in, you are learning, and you feel your input matters, you have won. Go to your friends in said community, whether it is a critique group, an online forum, or what have you, and offer to read their manuscripts.

Notice I said OFFER to read THEIR manuscripts.

Do not shove YOUR work under their noses and beg them to read. This, while sometimes effective, does not usually turn out well.

Offer to read for them. Be excited to read for them. Ask them what kind of notes they are looking for, and make sure you do exactly that. If you loved their writing, say so. If you loved their characters, say so. If you give an honest critique, they will respect you. And, as is common in the writing community, they will likely offer to return the favor for you.

The more people you read for, the more offers you will *likely* get. (This is not fail proof, only courtesy. Some people will not return the favor, but you do not want them for critique partners anyway.) In the beginning, let them read for you. As many as you are comfortable with. Realize you do not have to take every piece of advice offered. It is your story, not theirs.

However, take note of what rings true. What if you wrote character reactions that you knew, deep down, were not right? What if you wrote them that way because it was easier, and brushed off the feeling, in hopes that no one would notice? The critique partner who calls you out on that is a gem. Keep them.

What if you wrote a scene that you love, and you know, deep down, that it should be cut? The critique partner who reasons you into it is an asset. Keep them.

The ones who understand your writing strengths and weaknesses, the ones who you could be happy letting critique everything you have ever written or will write, the ones you trust with your work without a second thought: those are your critique partners. Keep them.

They may come from an in-person group, online forum, social media, or some other source. You may never meet them in real life (which would be a travesty). But if you trust them, they are your critique partners.

It should be noted, this process takes time. And not every critique partner will be from the same source. They may not know each other, they may not even like each other. But they do not have to be each other's critique partners.

Beyond anything else, the way to *keep* a critique partner is to make sure you thank them for their time and energy spent on your work. Always realize that they do not have to. They are doing it because they want to. And if they say they are busy, or cannot get to it right away, respect that. And be sure to do the same for them. Be there for them whenever you can. Support and encourage them. Do not just be a critique partner -- be a friend.

I hope this assists you in your writing journey. Good luck, and may the Writing Gods smile upon you.


Scrap That Prologue - A Post by Captain America


In the following sentences and paragraphs with letters and punctuations, I, Captain America of the YAvengers, who wears red, white, and blue, will tell you why prologues such as this are unneeded in almost every case.

I will have insight from industry professionals in the field of publishing fiction and non-fiction, along with reasons why a prologue is rarely needed.


Stop. Did you read my prologue? I've told you: a) what you already know about me, and b) what I'll tell you, in depth, now. So was that introduction necessary? No.

A prologue, in the definitive sense, is an opening to a story that establishes the setting and gives background details, often some earlier story that ties into the main one, and other miscellaneous information. (Wikipedia)

Ninety-nine percent of the time, a prologue isn't needed. If you've written one, chances are you can scrap it. The setting you've set in the prologue? You can weave it into your first chapter, mix it into dialogue and action.

There are few instances when a prologue works - for example a different POV (point of view), or a snippet from an earlier - or even later - time than when the story is set. Prologues work, but not always. And if you can avoid - then why have one?

My suggestion? To write it. If you feel the need for a prologue, write that prologue. Then continue with the story. Once you're done, go back to your prologue (save a copy of the original) and delete it sentence by sentence, weaving those deleted sentences into the actual story. It will work, I promise.

If you're not ready to trust me - I don't blame you, I do look like I stepped out of a comic book after all - then take it from them.

“I’m not a fan of prologues, preferring to find myself in the midst of a moving plot on page 1 rather than being kept outside of it, or eased into it.”- Michelle Andelman, Regal Literary

“Most agents hate prologues. Just make the first chapter relevant and well written.”- Andrea Brown, Andrea Brown Literary Agency

“Prologues are usually a lazy way to give back-story chunks to the reader and can be handled with more finesse throughout the story. Damn the prologue, full speed ahead!”- Laurie McLean, Foreword Literary

(Source: Writer Unboxed)

You see? If a prologue can be avoided, then avoid it at all costs. Better yet, write it and use the technique I mentioned above and you might even strengthen your story.

Hulk's Writing Routine

Writers are strange specimens and their routines are stranger. While writing a thesis on Gamma Radiation, I contemplated the methods I use while going about my writing. Not to procrastinate on my thesis or anything, but I've decided to document my own routine. For research. Not procrastination.

Step 1: I turn on my computer. After my beloved PC died, my brother-in-law loaned me an old Apple (I do refer to it as Mac. Mac and me. We're good buddies). I usually bop around my room while it loads, straightening things, checking that no spies from SHIELD lurk outside my window. That sort of thing.

Step 2: I cure myself of the burning procrastination desire by giving my inbox a quick browse. I have to do this first. Who knows? There might be a six-figure offer for a publishing deal beckoning me. One must check these things first.

Step 3: I load Microsoft Word and pull up my documents. Since I'm in the middle of rewrites, I have two documents. One for the dumping obsolete scenes (I never delete anything...just in case). The other for my in-progress-manuscript. They take a few minutes to configure. In that time I might (but you know, I'm rarely tempted) jump onto twitter or facebook. I NEVER get distracted for long. Of course.

Step 4: I skim my last chapter and make a few edits. You know that word I agonised on keeping for fifteen minutes yesterday? Nah. Cut it.

Step 5: I stare out the window.

Step 6: Staring out the window usually brings to mind how I should start the next scene. This is the most time-consuming part. The staring. Sometimes it's ten minutes. Sometimes it's longer. Sometimes I go get something to eat as part of the staring process. Apples and peanut butter make excellent writing snacks.

Step 7: I type a sentence.

Step 8: Delete it. Delete it ALL.

Step 9: I repeat steps 7-through-8 for a while until I'm satisfied. If I was first-drafting, I wouldn't worry about this. But I'm REwriting. When rewriting IT MUST ALL BE PERFECT!

Step 10: Avoid turning into Hulk.

Step 11: Write for the next hour. If I'm focused, I can trudge through 1,500-words in an hour. If my Gamma has been acting up, it might be 2,000. I type fast on Gamma apparently.

Step 12: An hour is maximum for me, guys. If I'm near finishing a chapter, I'll keep going, but otherwise I need to give my Hulkish side time to get up and smash things. Sitting for a long, long time? Hulk no likee. I call it my Smashing Break.

Step 13: Return to writing in an hour. Delete half. Return to staring out the window.

Step 14: Write.

Step 15: Or smash. Whatever works best. (I'm flexible.)

what does your writing routine look like?! how long do you write for before taking a break?
(and do you ever take "smashing" breaks? be honest.)