Wednesday, February 3

Do Ya Have A Process? Ya Gotta Have A Process!

Okay, so I'm channeling the best friend from "Pretty Woman" - at the end when she's looking for a new roomie. "Do ya have a goal? Ya gotta have a goal!"

For me the goal is simple: publication in the romance industry. To get there, I have a process.

I've been thinking about my process the last few days after 1) having all of my wisdom teeth taken out at once (Ouch!!), 2) the pain meds that made me loopy and unable to write and 3) another dreaded run-in. Here's the scoop: an acquaintance said, "Well, can't you just do that [write] anytime?" Why was I asked this question? Because I said no to being an everyday volunteer for a local youth program. I very nicely told this person that I couldn't because of deadlines. The response - couldn't I write *before* or *after* the program? Uuhhhh.....Yes, in actuality, I could squeeze my writing in around 100 other obligations every day. I choose not to. Why? Because writing is a priority in my life. See my goal above. If I don't make my writing a priority now, when will I? See, this is where my process comes in.

My process is really pretty simple - I sit down at the computer, re-read the previous chapter (no editing, just reading to get into the right frame of mind) and I write. Some days are great and I get 10 or more pages...some days are less great and I settle for 5 or so...some days are really bad and I research or (on the really bad days) revise other sections of the manuscript.

Anyway, after my conversation with this person who thought since I worked from home I should be able to squeeze everything else in my life around this program, and the pain meds which are still making me a little loopy, I started thinking about my process and how I could make it better. I think I've got the writing fairly well down. I won't lie and say every day is super-productive but I do think it's cool that I'm at the point that I can sit down and write...and not have the work be gibberish. But, I'd like it to be more productive - to be able to produce quality pages every day. As La Nora says, you can't edit a blank page.

But I would like to be more productive. To get those quality pages up to minimum of five every day...and I have no idea what to do to get there other than just butt-in-chair-hands-on-keys-ing it. Because it will get easier, right? Somebody please tell me I'm somewhere in the ballpark of right....

What is your writing process? What do you like/dislike about it? If someone came along saying they had the secret to super-special-productivity, would you take it?


  1. Big sympathy on your wisdom teeth! I heard lots of comments on this topic at RWA last summer. The consensus was that in addition to butt in the chair, just type. You don't need to aim for 10 quality pages - you just need to aim for 10 pages. The process of forcing yourself to write something/anything will inevitably make it easier. You choose an attainable word count and stick to it. Personally, my word count is 4,000 per week. If I hit 1,000 on 4 out of 7 nights, I'm done! That gives me time to have a non-writing life on at least 3 nights, if I so choose. If I stick to this, I can finish a 95,000 word book in under 6 months.

  2. good point, Christi...I do get a little 'stuck' at times because I'm shooting for near-perfect pages rather than just gooping it out. Need to realize I can fix it later, if needed!

  3. I don't have a real process. I write mornings, edit in afternoons. Sometimes it's good, and sometimes it's garbage. That *sounds* like a process, but when you work a day job--like lots and lots of us do--and have a family and a life, writing has to fit. Unfortunately, sometimes it doesn't.

    I do remember one time when I couldn't seem to type a readable word, I joined a group that did at least 100 words a day. It's not very much, but it made it workable and it got me through an ugly patch in the writing life.

  4. There are days when I write a perfect load of bull. Not a useable sentence anywhere. But I wrote. The writing changed to one or two useable sentences. That changed to a usable paragraph, to a usable page, to a usable few pages, and so on.

  5. When my daughter was in elem and HS, I wrote for the four hours after dropping her off and noon, but now, that she's in college, I can't seem to find my stride. Partly because I have a job that I work around. But more because I don't have the stamina or speed I once did. CT really stole a lot of it.
    Now I try to do at least one crit at night, then write for at least an hour or so. It's better than nothing.