There are as many writing processes as there are writers out there. We each have to pick the one that work’s best for us. On the other hand, we’re all striving to write faster, better, and more efficiently. Whether it’s writing software, plotting tools, character questionnaires, craft books, live courses, or webinars, we’re all searching for the Holy Grail.
I’m more of a pantster than a plotter. I have a general idea where the story is going, what the conflicts are, what background contributed to my character’s flaws, and where it’s set. But, I like to see where the story takes me. It’s part of the fun of writing. I ponder my characters for a couple weeks before I even sit down to write. By the time I sit down, I have a pretty good picture of who they are. During the course of the story, I get to know them even better, and by the end of the book, they’ve revealed even more of themselves to me. I also typically edit as I go. It helps me get back into the story at the beginning of each writing session, and I have a fairly clean first draft.
With my latest book, Dreams of Her Own, due out January 27th, I decided to try a new process. It was a mash-up of different processes I’d read about, different worksheets, etc. So, I plotted the major points, tried really hard not to edit as I wrote (and let me tell you, that was like asking me to abstain from chocolate), aimed for weekly word count goals (which I do anyway), and just put words on the screen.
Well, it was a disaster. The first draft was a disaster, which completely stressed me out. And despite painstaking editing prior to submitting the manuscript, the revisions I received from my editor were some of the most extensive I’ve received thus far, and included a major rewrite. Which, of course, stressed me out even more. The release date had to be pushed back because of the rewrite. Sigh.
This experience taught me a lesson. It’s fine to experiment with new processes, but keep in mind, they may not improve your writing, and in fact, they may make it worse. I’m going back to my roots. For me, writing faster isn’t necessarily writing more efficiently.
What’s your writing process? Have you ever tried changing it up? What was the result?