In total I've written three books. One is in a drawer and will remain there until the end of time. One is out now. One is out in Fall 2012. I'm starting number four now. Not a huge number by an stretch of the imagination, and maybe not enough to have developed some tried and true writing method, but I'm realizing it's now enough to start making some observations about how I go about writing a book.
I noticed one quirk in particular. At around page 100 I find that all forward momentum stops cold and I'm overcome by this irresistible urge to go back and rewrite everything I've done to that point. My rational mind is usually screaming that this is me wasting time. That I'm nervous about moving forward so I want to fiddle around. During first draft time I should be pushing forward at all cost, just get that draft done and get to the time when I can rewrite the whole thing. Except I can't. My need to go back and rework the beginning is overwhelming, like some sort of migratory thing. Must go south!
And the thing is, now that this has happened a few times I'm starting to see why it happens. And really it's pretty darn obvious. The first 50-100 pages is where the world of the story is formed. It's where we set up a character's basic traits, their key relationships and concerns. It's the foundation that everything that comes after. I didn't realize it before, but something has been saying to me "The foundation isn't set yet. Go back and fix it before you move on or the whole thing is going to collapse."
What's great about realizing this is the ability to give yourself a bit of a break. The next time I start to get to that 100 page mark I'm going to be able to say "Oh. Here I am again. Time to go back and rewrite." and not stress about it so much. It's kind of comforting too finally start to come up with your own normal.
How about you guys? Any essential writing quirks you've noticed now that you have a good amount of writing under your belts?