Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Writing Process Pt. 2

Last week I gave insight into how I am working on my newest work as a whole, but I thought this week some of you might be interested in seeing how I write on a daily basis.

I make it a priority to write six times a week, and usually I do seven. Sometimes that seventh day is maybe a hundred words, but as long as something is on paper, I view it as a good day. The other six days, I require a few pages, not just paragraphs. And I say pages, not 500 or 1000 words, because I write longhand. I often get sneered at when I say this (or sometimes people will tell me in a hushed voice like I might not know that I can write directly into the computer), but I enjoy the process of writing with a pen and paper. I also like the quick editing I can do when I get around to entering my pages into the computer. It's not an official revision step, but it's a helpful part of the process for me. Will I continue to do this? Probably not for my next novel attempt, but maybe I'll go into the reasons for that in a future post. I'll never give up on the pen and paper approach fully, though.

When I sit down, the first thing I do is pick up a "how to write" book. It doesn't matter which one I'm reading at the time, and I have plenty to choose from (as I'm sure most writers do). I'll read a couple of pages of that and set it aside. I might also read an article in Writer's Digest if I still haven't finished the latest issue. This ritual gets me thinking about writing, which is an important step in getting started.

To be honest, the first 15 to 20 minutes don't usually go very smooth. Even though I'm in the writing mode, it's still not usually easy to kick-start the process. I don't usually get many words on the page at this point, but as long as I'm staring at the page, writing thoughts are going through my head. After this initial struggle, however, the words usually start to flow. As you all know, some days are better than others, but as long as I stick to it at my desk, I'll get my page count without too much trouble.

What do I do when I hit my goal? Depends on the day, and how the session went. Sometimes I can breeze through in an hour, and I may stick with it and keep working. Other days can be a struggle, so once the goal is hit, I stop at a good spot and leave it for the next day.

There you have it. My method isn't glamorous or ground-breaking, but works for me. As I said last week, I know many writers like to see how others go about their business, so that's your peak into my typical writing sessions. I'd love to hear any comments you might have about it, or how you structure your own time. Until next time, keep reading and/or writing!