Writing novels has taught me a lot about how to write: short stories, articles, letters, advertising copy, press releases, and just about anything else that involves the written word. The most important lesson I learned was the writing process and how different it can be for everyone.
I like to experiment. Try new things. Yes, this has gotten me into trouble in the past, but now that I'm a grown-up, it's all good. One thing about writing books is that there's no lack of advice. Published authors are happy to share their unique perspective and sage guidance, as will a precious few agents and editors, and writing teachers, but the hopeful unpublished writers seem to know more than anyone. Just an F.Y.I., they're sometimes better writers than the published ones.
Right now I'm working on my favorite book, a story that captures my heart and soul on every level. I think one of the reasons it's taking me so long to finish this story (I've worked on three other books and a short story since I started this one) could be because I want it to be perfect. Well, news flash, Karen: It ain't gonna be perfect! I've accepted that. And I've learned this lesson from working on those three books I just mentioned. And from the various processes I've experimented with along the way.
I started out as a plotter. Ignorant me, that's how I thought it had to be done. How can you reach any destination without a map to show you the way? So sue me, I was wrong. I've discovered that I'm an organic writer whose best work evolves from unplanned imagination. I frequently borrow from the plotter's tool box when I need to, though, especially when creating characters (my absolute most favorite part of writing a new story). I'm not a purist. I enjoy variety in my writing process.
I've learned that I can't listen to music while I write. Music is too distracting, even if it's just instrumentals. I prefer absolute quiet, however I can edit under any noise conditions, including a noisy grandson with the television's volume turned up, and a loud version of an NFL game playing in the background. I am Warrior Writer! Hear me roar!
I've always written best in the morning, and that hasn't changed. I'm a morning person. I can write in the afternoon every once in a while, but that's only when I'm not stressed over a design deadline or getting that final proof finished for a client who asked for last minute-changes. Evenings? Forget about it. When the sun goes down, so do I.
I've discovered that location is everything. If I write in my office, I feel like I'm working. If I write in bed, or on the couch, or in my fabulous sky chair (it's like a hammock for one) on my front patio, then I feel like I'm writing in heaven. The choice is a no-brainer. I try to avoid my office to write because it's where I make my income as a graphic designer. Therefore, I focus my writer's creative energy in the spaces that make me happy. Learning this was a fabulous epiphany. I LOVE, love, love my laptop. It's a Mac, of course, because nothing can compare to these dream machines. Right, Becky?
So how did you discover the best writing process that works for you? Please share! I'll probably try it. I try everything. 8^)