What a title for this blog post, amiright?
Well, as the title mentions, this blog post deals with my mad, mad writing process and my writing journey thus far.
It might be a bit of a rambling, raving read. So sit tight if you care to learn about how my writing process began and how I keep myself (mildly) organized each week so I can hit my weekly writing goals.
I have written two books, one of which is about to be on submission to agents. It had been my WIP (Work in Progress for you non-writers) since I was 10 years old.
The first book (code name BBTYP) got a publishing offer by an independent publishing house in London last fall. I declined after thinking long and hard about the entire ordeal. Non-writer folk always ask, “why would you turn down a publishing deal?” Well, I did it because I don’t want just any old publishing deal. I want *the* publishing deal. And I will polish my work and write and rewrite until I have an offer that I cannot refuse.
I wrote BBTYP as a test-run, so-to-speak. I wanted to garner all the insight, and wet my foot in the literary pool a bit before I send out my heart & soul book, my current WIP. All writer’s have them. It’s the book I’ve been working on for my entire life. It is my life; my purpose. Sure, that may sound dramatic. But it’s true. I literally have been working on this series for more than half my life. So, I didn’t want to send it out to just any old agent. I needed to learn everything and anything I can about this super complicated, super competitive business.
So now, I plan to re-write BBTYP (which is contemporary fiction and not fantasy like my current WIP) and send that out in the next year or so.
But for now, with almost two books under my belt, I have somewhat of a process that I think works for me. Granted, every writer has a totally unique process, especially if you’re lucky enough to be a full-time writer because you have more time to devote to perfecting your craft. I’ve heard some full-time writers treat writing like their job and write 9 to 5. And others, like Neil Gaiman, who write whenever and wherever they can/choose. I’d like to think I fall somewhere in the middle.
I’m a fairly OCD person. I cannot stand messes, yet my mind is always a mess. I outline my book pretty much to a tee before I start writing, yet I almost always stray from the path I set for myself. So, I feel that contradiction carries over to my writing process as well.
Here are my top seven tips that work for me when it comes to writing:
- Hold yourself accountable. Each week I pull out my little blue journal and set writing goals — word count goals, plot goals, social media goals, etc. In my notebook, each day of the week has its own section and I look forward to checking goals off and trying to see if I can beat my set word count. (Super overachiever, I know right?) Some weeks I meet my word count, other times I don’t. Which brings me to my next tip.
- It’s not all about the bloody word count. I used to think it was. But it really isn’t. You can write 2k to 3k a week or even a day, but if the plot is all over the place and the prose is a mess, how much do you really gain from all of the words you put into your book?
- Find a place you can write without distractions. For me, sometimes it is my dining room table, other’s it is a local cafe surrounded by the clinking of tea cups and freshly ground coffee, oftentimes it is my local library. I don’t know why, but there is just something about being in a library that encourages me to write.
- Only share your WIP with those you trust. Writers (artists) steal. There, I said it. You know it’s true. So that’s why this tip is to only share your WIP with beta readers you trust. Share it with the *world* once you’re on the road to publishing. I’m not saying I’ve done this, I’m not saying you’ve done this. But hell, even Picasso said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” So, if that’s not a warning, I don’t know what is.
- Take care of yourself. Your art will never be where it ought to, if your brain is frazzled. So take the time to keep yourself in tip-top shape mentally, physically and spiritually so you can produce the best work possible. What does that mean for me? Hard workouts, healthy food, going to sleep at a decent time.
- READ. If you don’t keep abreast of what is currently popular in the industry, how will you know what is? My goal is to read a wide variety of books each year, not just in fantasy. This next year my goal is 100 books.
- Remember why you started writing. FOR YOU! You started this whole journey for you. You felt a story swell up inside you and it burst out onto the page. And dare I say, it was even FUN. Don’t ever lose that. Even through the dregs of editing and revising. The second you start writing for somebody else, you write for no one.
What are your top tips for writing or accomplishing your goals?
Until next time,