Monday, November 4, 2013

Your Process

Last Monday, I talked a bit about keeping track of how you start a book. Do you start with an idea? Do you have character sheets, or, like me, do you "find" your characters in several different versions of the first three chapters? Do you storyboard...SHOULD you storyboard. LOL

This week, we're going to take that a step further. What happens after all your prep time?

You're going to groan when I tell you this (and I'm knocking on wood so I don't jinx myself) but I'm a very systematic writer. I literally write my book 10-12 pages at a time. Tuesday through Saturday, I write ten or 12 pages a day, just by reading my notes for the next scenes/chapter and fleshing it out.

Other people aren't that organized. Some people mood write. Which is, of course, writing happy scenes if your happy and the darker scenes when you're angry or frustrated. Personally, I love that system. I've skipped ahead to bad scenes in my books on days when I was ... not quite happy. LOL And I wrote my entire second book that way. It was actually kind of fun, though I ended up with a little more edits than I I kept groping for a better (for me) system.

Some people write in chunks. I have friends who piddle with a page or two every day until one day something comes over them and they write 30 to 50 pages. I gape in awe. (My fingers would be numb.) But that's their process. Their stories percolate a little longer. But if they get 50 pages every Friday and 50 on Saturday, they beat my nice consistent, steady flow for the week!

Some people write out of fear. Deadline is ten days from now...must write fast. LOL

Some people CAN'T write out of fear. They freeze. So they need to start early and keep pushing themselves to get done before their deadline is close...or they'll freeze. Which, if you think about it, is a kind of fear itself but I never question anyone's process. :)

Some people speed write (a la Candace Haven's Fast Draft process) and get their draft done quickly so they have lots of time to edit.

My point...

There are lots of systems. Just because you don't write like your friends, or systematically like me, or fast like some of my friends, that doesn't mean your system is wrong. It makes you you.:) And apparently the world needs a you...otherwise, you wouldn't be here

So begin to figure out your system. Don't make it the iron hand of the law that you can't break, but try to see how you write, what days you write best, how much thinking/percolating time you need, how you react to deadlines and then use what you learn.

Remember what I said last week...Don't reinvent the wheel every time you write a book. Your brain responds to systems and habit. So start keeping track of when and how you write best...and use that information, and you'll probably notice an increase in productivity.

And happiness. Because aren't we all happier when we're writing?

Happy Reading

susan meier


Barb Wallace said...

I was just writing this very thing for a blog this morning! Honor your process - and don't beat yourself up if it's different from others. Great post, as always.

Susan said...

Great minds think alike, Barbara! :)