Years ago, while attending a writing conference as an instructor, I was approached by another writer who asked me what my writing process is. I obligingly described my nightly writing routine as well as giving a few details on my writing goals and how I manage different projects. After listening for a minute or so, she shook her head and said “Nope. That won’t work.” It turns out that she had been going up to a variety of published authors and quizzing them to find a writing process that would work for her.
While I appreciate this writer’s enthusiasm and dedication, I don’t think she had the right idea about finding her process. While you can certainly gain great insight by looking at the way other writers go about their craft, the truth is that writing is an art form, and the way that you create your art needs to be as personal to you as the work that you’re creating. With that in mind, here are some questions to consider as you find your own writing process.
What inspires you?
Whether it’s the crash of waves at the beach or a cup of hazelnut hot chocolate, what are the things that put you in a creative mood? How can you make those things a part of your regular writing routine? (hint: if you can’t go to the ocean, you can play the sound of waves while surrounding yourself with pictures of the sea)
How much could you easily write each day?
This isn’t the time for stretching. Ask yourself how much you could comfortably get done every time you write. No amount is too small (though less than one word might be selling yourself short). Once you have this number, set it as your minimum word count each day to build your confidence and get some momentum.
Do you know enough to get started?
Whether it’s learning the craft of writing or creating the world of their story, many would-be authors procrastinate starting their first draft because they’re still “getting ready”. While planning and proper execution is important, remember that no amount of preparation is a substitute for words on the page.
Do you like to write?
This may seem like an obvious question, but I’ve seen too many writers become stressed and anxious about their writing. Remember that you’re a writer because you want to be one. If you find yourself dreading your writing time, ask yourself why, and then resolve the issue. Writing should be your escape, rather than something to hide from.
What’s your writing process? What suggestions would you give to other writers that are looking to find their own process?