Last week I finished writing a Christmas novella. I had the weekend to relax and purge those characters from my mind. Yesterday, according to my calendar and to stay on-schedule with my contracted deadline, I was supposed to begin writing the 4th book in my Aisle Bound series. But as I opened a new document, I realized that deciding to start writing a new book and being ready to do so are very different things.
I'm a plotter. In order to sell this book on proposal, I had to turn in a detailed, chapter by chapter synopsis. Which is why I thought it'd be no trouble to just start writing. Boy, was I wrong/naive/overly optimistic! Yes, I had the names of the two main characters. But in the first chapter alone, I'd need names for two other characters. Minor ones, sure, but that was still something that would stop me cold by the third sentence.
When it comes to writing, whether plotter or pantser, I think we can all agree that momentum matters. When you're in a good writing streak, the words just flow. That is, until you realize you've no idea what actually goes into training for an IronMan Triathalon, which is an integral part to the story. Or that the brilliant idea you had to incorporate the wedding of the main characters from book one means actually planning said wedding. Where will it be, what does the dress look like, and the cake, and the flowers? Sure, a one sentence description of each will do the trick. But the main characters from each of the preceding three books are in the wedding industry, and actually made the flowers and the bouquets. This has to be the wedding of the century that reflects all of those characters.
In other words, I was nowhere close to ready to begin writing yesterday. Maybe for you it is researching different types of handguns, or naming every character, no matter how insignificant. Deciding ahead of time what the heroine's bedroom looks like, or what breed of dog the hero has. All the tiny details that will grind you to a dead halt in the middle of a writing sprint. Take a day or two to prep before you begin. And then you'll truly be ready to start writing!