Monday, November 3, 2014

The writing process is not a one-size-fits-all

As I mentioned last week, November is National Novel Writing Month. For those of you who have never heard about it, and are curious, here's the web site where people sign up, and during the month of November, they keep track of the words the write every day, with a goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month.

50,000 words equates to about 1,667 words a day.

I've written most of my books with the goal of 1,000 words per day (or 4-5 pages per day if the whole thing is in verse, b/c my verse novels aren't very long). I find I can *usually* do that writing in the span of 2-3 hours, and still have time to walk the dog, check in on social media sites, run errands, make dinner for my family, watch TV or read in the evening, etc.

That 667 extra words every day may not seem like a lot, but to me, it is a LOT. I'm so used to my 1,000 words a day, I find I'm having to really push myself, which I guess is the point. I think what is going to work for me is to do one round of writing in the morning, and then take a long break in the afternoon, and come back and write more from like 3:00 to 5:00. Breaking it up gives my brain a much needed rest or something. Unless I really get going in a scene during the first writing session and don't want to stop, in which case, of course, I'll keep going. (I love when I get in the "zone" or whatever and get fully immersed in the story, but unfortunately, it doesn't happen as much as I'd like).

It's always interesting at book festivals and conferences to hear authors talk about their writing processes. Newer writers always seem to be curious about this. And I get it, you want to hear from successful people and see if you can learn something. But I kind of believe everyone has to find their own way in that regard, by simply trying different things. What works for me might not work for someone else. Some people can't write until everyone in their house goes to bed. That is DEFINITELY not me, since often times, in my house, I am the first person in bed, snuggling up with a book! I am a morning person all the way, and the more I can get done in the morning, the better. Some people like writing by hand first and then typing it into the computer. (To that I say, what? No way!!!) I often hear authors say they can't start writing until they know how the book ends. That isn't me either. In fact, with my most recent YA, ALL WE HAVE IS NOW, I didn't have any idea how the book would end until about 3/4th of the way. I guess I like to be surprised?

Kids I visit with during school and Skype visits often ask about process, and I try to make sure they know that everyone is different. The way I do it isn't the right way, it's just the right way FOR ME, and over time, they'll figure out the right way for them as well.

And now... I'm off to write!

Have a good week!

1 comment:

  1. You're so right! I hear so often about how you should outline, but I just can't do it. I feel like I'm squeezing myself into a box. But I do like to write by hand when I'm drafting picture books or verse. I wrote my NaNoWriMo novel almost entirely by hand last year (half verse/half prose).