Being a part of a writer’s community can have many wonderful benefits and one of those benefits, for me, has been learning from others how their writing process works. From that I have learned that not one of us seems to have the same process. It’s comforting to know that everyone seems to find their own personal way of turning the process of writing into something that works for them. It’s comforting to know there is no one “right way” to do it. Or a wrong way, for that matter.
A friend I’ve made recently through the local writer’s group asked me to be a part of the blog hop she’d been asked to participate in by another person from our group. It’s worth noting that the gentleman, Larry Atchley, Jr., who asked her to join the blog hop is also a very talented writer and I look forward to reading more of his work and also in his blog.
Jessica kindly talked about me and recommended my blog last week. She’s a talented writer and a kind person who is, as she says in her Twitter bio, “changing the ending of (her) story, and daring to begin a new one.” I am very impressed with the goals she is setting for herself and with the honesty and beauty of the writing in her blog. She posts samples of her work weekly and should have a collection out soon. I’m excited to see her do a reading of her work this week. If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area, be sure to come out to the Half Price Books on Northwest Highway in Dallas on Wednesday (3/19) from 8-10 PM to hear some readings.
Jessica included me on this blog hop where we talk about our writing process. I’m excited to participate and we can all promote it on Twitter with the #mywritingprocess hashtag.
The problem then became thinking about what my writing process really is and how to share that with anyone. I’ve pondered it a bit, and this twitter post by @ChuckWendig (Campbell-nominated author of Blackbirds) seemed to sum up my process pretty well.
MY CREATIVE PROCESS :
1) This is Awesome
2) This is questionable.
3) I hate myself and this story.
4) Cry – Eat Cake
5) This is awesome.
Okay I am joking about this. I don’t eat much cake. 🙂
But doubts that plague a lot of writers are no stranger in my writing process. However, I’m learning to manage those a lot better. The editor from my writer’s group will appreciate this if she is reading, I am beginning to trust my own voice as a part of this daily writing commitment I’ve set for myself. Rather than going back and re-reading what I’ve written and tearing apart each bit of it until I’m completely unable to move on, I’ve begun just adding more wherever I feel that I can. Then I go in and fill in pieces or move on to where I feel called to write next. Essentially, I’ve finally given myself permission to just write. That may sound silly or unnecessary, but let me assure you, it is not. I remind myself of Hemingway’s quote that ‘the first draft of anything is shit.’ Perhaps this sounds harsh, but I find it freeing. Yes, what I’m writing will need work. Yes, I’ll have to edit it. But I think what I’ve really gotten down to with my writing process after beginning to write every day is that I have to just put the words on the page.
And it feels great. I am really excited today because I am really making progress in my book. While I have stuck to my commitment to write every day, I haven’t always written a solid amount at each sitting. Yesterday however, I set myself a solid word count goal. Then I also forced myself to start tackling the ending to my current work in progress. I had an idea where it would go, but yesterday I promised myself I would write at least 5K and start that where I felt the ending would begin. Not only did I meet my 5K minimum, I pushed past that to bring myself to the 70K total word count I have for my novel in progress. I know of the 70K, at least 5-10K will be cut, but it still feels good to get myself to this point. The big picture is coming together.
From this brief description, you may have figured out already, but I’m not an outliner. I am not one who maps out my whole novel and then sits down to write. No, I sit down and just write and let the story develop. This has its advantages, my characters seem to present themselves to me and the story finds itself. But it also has its disadvantages in that I am never quite sure where my story is going. I am only just now getting a clear picture of what this book will be and where it is going. I had an idea which got me started, but that initial idea has morphed and changed as I’ve gotten further into the story.
So what is my process? It’s a good question, and I have to be honest, as a writer I am still finding my way. But every day in my writing challenge seems to be bringing me closer to finding my way. Maybe just the commitment to write is where I am winning in this process. Maybe it is just the idea that every day I will make myself put words on the page. Maybe that’s the key – just getting the words on the page.
Another key is surrounding myself with others I can learn from and be encouraged by. I am fortunate to have met some really great people through this writing process.
One of these friends I met through my writer’s group. She’s been very encouraging in my writer’s journey. Even though she is taking a break from our group, I count her as a great source of encouragement and hope to stay in contact with her as I get my work closer to a point for real feedback.
Joanne Faries, originally from the Philadelphia area, lives in Texas with her husband Ray.
Published in Doorknobs & Bodypaint, she also has poems in Silver Boomer anthologies.
Joanne is the film critic for the Little Paper of San Saba. Look for her humorous memoir My Zoo World: If All Dogs Go to Heaven, Then I’m in Trouble, a story collection Wordsplash Flash and three poetry books – Wordsplash Poetry Puddle: Nature, Hazy Memory, and Tread Water on Amazon.
Another friend, who I met through Twitter, has been encouraging both on Twitter and in comments on this blog.
Robyn LaRue is a Montana girl living in Texas (by way of several beautiful states). Blessed with an active imagination and mean crayon skills, she wrote her first opus just before kindergarden (on her brother and the nearby wall). Robyn and her husband live with two cats determined to put their fur in all food and drink, an adult son, and a precious toddler grandson. Her first published novel debuts summer 2014
Her web site is www.robynlarue.com and though the front page is still under construction, the blog is up and running. The “about me” page has extra information on it and http://www.robynlarue.com/how-to-connect/.
Another is a friend who, like Jessica, is changing the end to her story. I met Anna Kos through Twitter and it’s been a pleasure to read her blog posts. Anna writes about her life, her travels and things that interest her.
Please go take a look at their blogs and also follow the #mywritingprocess hashtag on Twitter to see how others are working through or following their own writing process.
Have a great week!