I would have thought that after writing three novels over 60k words I would know how to write a novel. don’t get me wrong I know what elements need to be in a good novel. I also know how to carve out time in a busy schedule for dedicated writing time. I also know what time of the day I write best. unfortunately little of that helps day to day when I sit down in front of a blank screen and try to make words come out. With every book that I have produced my writing process has adapted and changed, as it should.
My first novel I was working part time and had little family responsibility and no sense of a deadline so I chipped away at it slowly, no pressure, no concern of when I needed to finish it, just happy to be writing. By the second novel I had a hectic work schedule, was taking care of my grandmother, and I needed a project to help me deal with the loss of my mother.
Now that I’m working on book four, with dreams of being a serious writer one day, I have good and bad habits to contend with. In previous books I have relied on my own emotional turmoil to fuel the turmoil in my book, which is not the best strategy when you are on a schedule. I can’t wait around for a particularly emotive day to swing through to write my novel. I need to put words down consistently throughout the week. on the other hand I have learned how to shut out distractions and get work done whenever the opportunity presents itself.
I want with this book to develop a process that has the room to grow with time but also has a solid, healthy foundation that will last me for years to come. What I have found so far is that I work best with a nonlinear plan. With every project I always have a few scenes that are very clear to me but they are usually spread out throughout the book. So this time I will write those scenes first and fill in the detail around it as I go.
Tips for the future. Squash bad habits as soon as you notice them. Its always harder to get rid of a behavior once it has become habit. Don’t fight your fights instincts because they often have some merit to them. I tried to tell myself that if I outline just right and stick to it the writing process will smooth out. After a month of feeling like I was torturing myself I tried just writing whatever scene popped into my head and I’ve written more in the last week than I have in the previous three combined.
Discovering you own unique writing process takes time and error. The best thing you can do is embrace the chaos until you find the order buried within. Happy writing to us all.