Tuesday, September 14

Do You Have a Writing Process?

 Is there such a thing? Now there's an interesting question...

Fact is, 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 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, on the voice recorder app on my phone when ideas hit me or I hear a word that I like or characters start having a conversation in my head and there's no pencil and paper handy.  For what it's worth, since I started writing for Tule, I've gotten a little more of a writing process going by getting up at 6 a.m. and trying to get a couple hours of writing in before my day actually begins. I've been doing writing sprints with the other Wranglers and sometimes with my fellow Tule authors, but to say I've developed a real process would be stretching the point. 

Whether we can consider my methods a writing process is up for debate, but so far, it's mostly working. I just wrote THE END on novel #12 and will be turning it in to my editor tomorrow. (I made my deadline!) If my semi-process changes for some reason, if I stop doing copy-editing gigs (which would mean I hit the lottery), or if my novels suddenly take off like crazy and I'm selling books by the millions, my process might get more disciplined. But you know, I'm guessing not because I'm simply not that methodical. 

My editing career is the most disciplined area of my life and honestly compels me to tell you that I am a disciplined copy editor because I care about doing good work for my clients because they're paying me. Facts are facts. I love my job, but if I miss deadlines or do a sloppy edit, I don't get paid. The writing pays, but not as consistently or as well as the editing right now and I've grown accustomed to eating, and okay, decent wine. But the writing? The writing I do for love and that's a good reason to work hard, process or no, right? 

Writers, do you have a process? Does it work for you? Let's talk!

Stay well, stay safe, for now, wear your mask, and most of all stay grateful,




8 comments:

  1. As you know, my process mostly...isn't. Good post!

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  2. Hugs--we share that proclivity, my friend! Thanks!

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  3. I’m completely undisciplined with my writing process. I’ve tried outlines which didn’t work because the unplanned part of my writing is often the best that I do. I’ve never had daily word count goals. Between homeschooling my eldest grandson and providing part time child care for my two youngest grandchildren, I write. Sometimes an hour a day, sometimes fourteen if I’m fighting to meet a deadline or paring down words.
    Really enjoyed your post, Nan, as always! 💞

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    1. Totally get it, Leigh Ann! You write wonderfully, however it happens! Hugs!

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  4. In my mind I have a great writing process. But, in reality, it kind of depends on the day and the time of year. I have a very flexible dayjob, so on days that I'm not super busy there I can be quite productive once I'm home and writing. But when it gets crazy there...you know how that goes! I do like a good outline, although I still abhor synopsis'. And I try to read over the last scene I wrote to kind of get into the groove of the story.

    Great post, Nan!

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    1. Reading over the last scene is good way to rev up the old creativity. I do that too, although I'm trying not to do any editing until the first draft is done. My crit partners will tell you that makes their job harder! Hugs!

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    2. I want to get out of bed at 6am to write but lately I haven't been able to manage it. I've done it before and it works so well. The sense of accomplishment in getting a couple of thousand words written before actually starting my day is fantastic. I wish I could get into that rhythm again.

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  5. Ah, dear Nan, I should be as disciplined as you are. Don't you just love those cocktail napkin moments of inspiration! I wrote my first children's book, How High Can You Fly?, on a napkin in a Japanese restaurant between the California roll and the tempura.

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