I'll often get ideas about blog topics, then by the time I sit down to write one, I've forgotten all the interesting things I wanted to write about. Just yesterday, as I was working to finish this book, something struck me as a good blog topic (and it was unrelated to writing). By the time I got around to starting a new post, I'd forgotten it.
But something that has been on my mind with this book is that ever-evolving mysterious thing known as Process. When I was unpublished, I wrote when I pleased. I tried to do it everyday. But I didn't always. And I wrote and rewrote books two or three times. Spent 3 years on the book that ended up being my GH finalist last year. Gah, that's too long!
But now that I'm writing for an editor, I've realized a couple of things.
1) Procrastination and perfectionism are not my friends.
2) I have always known I can write fast when I put my mind to it — but I can in fact produce a whole book in a matter of weeks if I respect my process.
3) My process, which is probably still evolving, goes like this:
a. Write one chapter.
b. Rewrite chapter.
c. Write second chapter.
d. Rewrite first and second chapter.
e. Write third chapter.
f. Rewrite first, second, and third chapter.
g. Write fourth chapter.
h. Cry about how bad the whole thing is.
i. Revise four chapters.
j. Write chapters 5 and 6.
k. Tweak first several chapters along with 5 & 6.
l. Stall on chapter 7.
m. Finally write chapter 7.
n. Tweak all chapters.
o. Write rest of book in varying degrees of speed — sometimes slow and easy, other times breakneck.
p. Reread all the above. Add, subtract, or revise as needed.
q. Send to editor.
It takes me twice as long to write the first half as it does the second. It's been that way through two contracted books now, so I can only hope I will evolve further and not need so much gnashing of teeth on the setup. But that setup is so crucial that it just twists me into knots and takes me forever to get it worked out.
And now, back to the mad dash…. What's your process like?
Ah, the trauma that is Chapter 7. If I can just get through 7, it’s downhill from there…
That just goes to show how much hard work goes into a successful writer’s work – and this post is very inspiring for a would-be like myself.
Lynn, how fascinating. I do pretty much the same! I tried doing the ‘write without stopping’ Nano, and couldn’t bear it.
I have to go back and revise earlier chapters so I know what my characters are going to do next. But I’m sure it’s not the most efficient way of doing it.
As you say I guess the process evolves with experience (at least I hope so).
I’m rolling downhill on chapter 11 now. Whew, that’s a good feeling. Though it’ll feel even better when it’s DONE.
Suzanne, I hope it inspires you! Before I sold, I hunted down and read all the posts like this I could. Anytime an author talked about process, I was all over it, looking for kinship I guess. I wanted to be sure I wasn’t doing it all wrong. But there are so many ways to write a book that I now know my way is fine. Because it works for me. 🙂
Lucy, another rewrite and rewrite again sister! 🙂 I agree with you about making sure everything lines up before continuing. I know I’ll revise the whole thing, but it’s much easier if I’ve made sure it mostly makes sense the first time through. Sometimes, ONE little change can change the whole book — which is what happened to me on my first set of revisions before I sold. My editor wanted me to move an event that happened toward the end back to the middle — that necessitated a LOT of rewriting. 🙂
I can so relate, Lynn. Gee, your process is the exact replica of mine with one exception. You’re published!!
FYI, I had one of those books too. In fact, as I was cleaning out the bookcase, I found 4 different printed version of it. Blech!! And that doesn’t count this last one I’ve got on a flash drive. ;(
Ooooh, love your new picture icon!!
Kathy, that’s how you get published. 🙂 Don’t give up, keep working to make your writing better. And know when to move on, LOL, which is often easier said than done.
Thanks! I like the picture too. Took me a little while to warm up to it….
Oops! Reread my post and want you to know when I said “Your published!!” I sincerely meant that as a “Wahooooo!” moment and a “You go, girl!” kind of thing. 😉
See what a week of stress can do to me? LOL!
word verif: sneenall
Is that anything like senile?
I knew that, Kathy! I was telling you to keep on going and keep working. 🙂 You will get there. 🙂
Wow, our processes sound identical. Or maybe you stole my process? If that’s the case, I’m thrilled, I don’t want it back, and I’m off now to steal a new process from one of those ladies who write “discovery drafts.” 😉
In all seriousness, I actually don’t mind our process at all (except when it comes to the Chapter Sevens. Ugh). I tried the discovery draft once, a few years back, and I realized that rewriting as I went was actually part of the fun for me.
I do wonder if the DD technique isn’t easier on the nerves, though. It certainly requires you to gag your inner critic, which sounds like a lovely achievement indeed.
Hi, Meredith! Yep, I tried the DD — and rewrote the whole thing, darn it. I really envy those detailed outline people. Can’t follow one to save my life.
Each time I’ve done a fast draft, I’ve abandoned the book somewhere during the revision process because it seemed so overwhelming to me. So I guess DD isn’t for me. Boo. 🙁