Writing is hard. If you’re a writer, you already know this. It’s not news. Some days, the words fly from my fingertips and other days, I’m lucky if I’ve written even three sentences. I’d rather 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 4:30 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, 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 a process? Does that make me a writer? I don’t know. I hope so…
I confess my process—such as it is—is sluggish, but I’m simply not one of those authors who can crank out books. Here’s what happens when I do write. I produce a chapter or a scene and then the next time I sit down at the computer, I reread what I wrote previously. Sometimes it’s great and I just pick up where I left off. Other times I change it up—a lot—and suddenly it gets bigger than anything I’d planned. But lately, ideas have been swirling around in my head, characters have been talking to me about their stories, demanding I get busy and tell them already. So, I’m writing . . . and then I’m rewriting . . . and then I’m writing . . . and then . . . well, you get the picture. It’s my process, I guess.
Talk to me. Tell me your process. Is it working?