Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Dysfunctional Process

I'm curious about other writers' writing process. Because mine is just...well, not great LOL But, it seems to work for me.

See, every time I go to start a new book, I start off strong. I've got an outline, I'm excited about my book, I've got my daily goals and (amazingly) I stick to them - sometimes even surpass them! And then, something happens about 10k in. My motivation begins to dwindle. I still love my story as much as ever. I still want to get it on paper. I still think of nothing but my story. But getting it down starts to become a little tedious. Probably because subconsciously I know something needs fixing...I just haven't figured out what yet.

Here is where my awesome powers of procrastination set in. And believe me, I am EPIC at procrastination ;) I curse myself for getting off task and yet I seem to do everything my power to make it worse.

But then something wonderful happens. About 20k in, I decide that something I've already written needs major changing. Or total deleting. And that something generally changes everything else, even if it's only in minor ways.

So, I go back through all the previous 20k and change that special something. And change all the dominos that change changed. I once even had to scrap the entire thing and start all over. But I fix what needs fixing.

By this time, I'm usually down to about 3 weeks before due date (4 if I'm lucky....and once it was 2 weeks but we don't speak of those dark days).

This is when the freak out of OMG THE BOOK IS DUE IN 3 WEEKS sets in and somehow, I am able to sit down, focus and power write the crap out of my sweet little manuscript.

I wish I could change this process. I wish I could just know what's going to need fixing before I hit that 20k mark. But for some reason, it takes about 20k to really know my characters and my story, no matter how much careful planning I've put into it.

So....after 7 novels and 2 non-fiction books, I think I'm learning to accept this. It's my process. It's just how it is. It's how my creative brain works, how my stories form themselves. And while it's not always ideal :) it seems to work for me. Maybe one of these days I'll figure out how to stay on task the entire time and not have to crank out a whole book in a few weeks but until then, I guess if it ain't broke I won't try to fix it ;)

So how about you? What is your writing process?


  1. My process is one that *could* change if I ever have deadlines for projects, but at the moment, since I'm still agent hunting, I don't have those.

    And because what's most important for me to do right now is just to keep writing, I don't put a whole bunch of deadlines on myself. I just sit down and write SOMETHING each day.

    I've always been someone who has multiple projects going on at the same time. They'll all be YA, but might be totally different genres. Usually once I'm 7-10k into the stories, one will really latch on and I'll focus just on that one until it's polished and into the querying stage. Then while I'm querying that, I'll get back to writing something new.

    It's been harder recently, as I've been forced to change jobs and have been dealing with a lot of family stress (Mom fighting breast cancer, but so far, she's doing awesome, so that stress has lessened a little) and as a result it's been more difficult to be optimistic about projects when I don't know how 'marketable' they might be to agents. Then there's the 'what if I get an agent but that ms never sells to a publishing house, what will I have in the background to fall back on next?' factor, all of which disrupts the 'just sit down and write' process because it makes me second guess every project I've got. As a result, I haven't been finishing anything, but flip-flopping between ideas. Which I hate.

    At the moment, I'm into a YA Gothic/Horror sort of story, and loving it and the characters in it. I'm using Nanowrimo to help me get it out without too much wembling over the details.

  2. So sorry to hear about your mom, but glad she is doing well! I hear you on being optimistic. It's can be very tough. When I get in that mind frame, I try to just push everything else out and focus on what I want to write. For me. Because at the end of the day, that's about all you can control :) Trends change so quickly, there's no point in trying to write for them. It's very hard not to second guess yourself - I'm CONSTANTLY doing it lol But I do try to just focus on the story I want to tell, what will make me happy. This business is too hard to do if you don't love what you're working on :)

    Good luck with NaNo!!!

  3. I go through the same thing, 20k is where I start "discovering" things I should have known that change the course of the story.


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