Tuesday, August 8

Is Process Necessary?

One of the things that Liz, Kathi, Cheryl, and I talked about at the library event on Saturday was our writing process. This is kind of a sensitive topic for me, and I think it’s because I feel like I should have a process, but I’m not at all sure I do. I want to be able to tell you that I write x number of hours each day and set word count goals. I want to tell you that the writing always, always comes first, that I pop out of bed at 5:30 each morning and get my 1000 to 1500 words in before the sun rises. I want to tell you that I’m a disciplined outliner, that I make timelines and character studies, and that I know from word one who all my characters are, where the story’s going, and how it will end.  

That is process to me and real writers—professional authors—have a process. Right? Well, I do none of those things. I write when I can write, squeezing words in between editing gigs or staying up late at night when the muse is kicking my creative ass. I take copious notes on scraps of paper, napkins, a notebook I carry, and on my cell phone memo app when ideas hit me or I hear a word that I like or characters start having a conversation in my head. But is that process? Does that make me a writer? I don’t know. I hope so.

So far, mostly, my haphazard writing style is working. If that changes for some reason, if I ever stop editing (which would mean I suddenly hit the lottery or made the conscious choice to cease eating and live in a box under the highway), or if my novels take off like crazy and I’m selling books by the millions, my process may get more disciplined. But you know, I’m guessing it probably won’t because I’m not a naturally disciplined person. My editing career is the most disciplined area of my life and honesty compels me to tell you, I am a very disciplined copy editor because I’m being paid. Hey, facts are facts. I do love my job, but if I miss deadlines and don’t get jobs done and done well, I won’t make money. The writing pays, but not consistently or as well as the editing and I’ve grown accustomed to eating and okay, decent wine. But the writing, I do for love and that’s also a good reason to work hard, process or not, right?

So , talk to me . . . do you have a process? What is it?

Bonus: SAVING SARAH, book 4 in the Women of Willow Bay series is up for pre-order and I'd be ever so grateful if you buzzed by Amazon and one-clicked. The book will show up on your Kindle on September 26. Merci, Mes Amies! I am always grateful for your support. 

10 comments:

  1. Your writing process sounds like mine, minus the editing job! When life is a little topsy-turvy and subject to the whims of others, I think (hope) that's to be expected!

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    1. Maybe I'm not as off-process as I think I am. Sadly for me, the editing has to take precedence over the writing. At least until the damn health insurance thing is no longer an issue. Thanks, Ava!

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  2. I'm having trouble commenting here...my process is the same as yours. Being retired from the day job means it's going to stay that way, too. I loved working to a schedule, but I also love working NOT to one! Love your post.

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    1. Hey, sweetie! You seem more disciplined than me--you're definitely more prolific. Perhaps I'm too easily distracted--squirrel! Whatever it is, it works for you because your books are terrific! Thanks always for your support!

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  3. It sounds like a process to me, Nan! I think a lot of people get hung up on making their writing (and writing time and editing, etc) look too much like what they think Nora Roberts (or someone) does...when the truth is, your process is your process. It make look like a 9-5 job or it might night. If it's working for you, stick with it...

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    1. I think you're right, Kristi--I read other writer's FB posts with word counts, etc. and I just think I'm a real loser... but I am putting out a new book next month, so apparently, I found some time to write. Thanks, baby!

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  4. My process is pretty much like yours, Nan. I squeeze the writing in between mowing, cleaning the barn, and taking care of my family and my critters. So don't worry about your process. It is what it is. :-)

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    1. Hey, Cheryl! Maybe I'm overconcerned with what I believe other writers are doing. Taking FB off my phone again may be the answer to my angst. Hugs!

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  5. I hope it's not necessary because if it is, I'm screwed. Lol

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  6. Like everyone else said, your process looks a lot like mine. I do my best to get in my writing, but I also want to have a life. I guess it's all about balance.

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