I’ll admit it. When it comes to “my process”, I’m a fickle creature, constantly in pursuit of that singular system that will miraculously facilitate my knocking out the books in a timely, reliable, efficient fashion.
I mean who wouldn’t want that?
And just so we’re clear, it’s not that I have any delusions about writing suddenly becoming an easy breezy endeavor. It’s work. I know this. Like I know it’s the kind of work that I love.
The part I fantasize about is the ability to make it happen faster. I long for a process that streamlines my productivity. I would love to be the kind of plotter who can lay out their entire storyline at the beginning of a project, know exactly how long it will take them to finish. Adhere to the framework established and turn in a captivating, polished, finished project on time.
I KNOW there are writers out there who can do this.
And I’ve tried to become one of them. But alas, I’ve yet to find a way to make it work for me where I don’t end up writing something that feels vaguely detached. Definitely not what you want in a romance that hinges on emotional connection. Heck, not what you want in any kind of non-technical writing!
So, I must embrace what works for me. My process.
While I’m not a plotter, I don’t exactly fly by my seat either. But like many, I’m a mish-mashy, inconsistent blend of the two. I usually start out with a scene I can’t stop thinking about, a conflict to build from, and a few plot points that break down the major turns in the story. Once I’ve got that initial work done, I’m totally pumped and can’t wait to take off.
Only after that initial rush, I often find myself with so many ways the story could go—so many attitudes and reactions my people could take—I just can’t quite figure which is going to be right. Which puts me at the second stage of my process—one that I revisit frequently throughout the book. The wheel spinning stage. The part where I so desperately want to go, but every time I try to get hold of a piece of the road to take off from, it slips out from beneath me—ending up as a bunch of splatter littering my CUTS folder.
I try it this way. Then that way. Then another. Until something clicks. And by clicks, I mean reconnects me to the story in a way that’s almost physical, and is so totally better than all the rest of that splatter behind me, I can’t help but take off. And for a while I fly. The story flows. The road is smooth. I hug the curves, utterly enjoying the ride… Until I veer off track and end up in another gunky rut. And the spinning starts again and I pray it won’t take me too long to catch some traction and I just keep at it, trying this and that, until…click…catch…and aahhhhh. Time to fly.
It’s an imperfect system. Unpredictable. And at times, exhausting. So, yes, I’m always searching for a way to do it better. Faster. More smoothly. I get fed up and take it personally, and call my process all kinds of nasty names. But the thing of it is, until the day comes when I land on this ever-elusive “perfect” process, this imperfect version is what I have. And most importantly, it (eventually) gets me to where I want to go. A finished manuscript that I love.
So as frustrating as it can be, and as much as I wish I could make it better, this process is mine and I’m grateful I have it.
What works for you? Do you love your process or grudgingly accept it while eyeballing the horizon for something better?
I'm on Twitter and Facebook too!
I'm on Twitter and Facebook too!
USA TODAY best-seller--Available now
Payton hasn't seen Nate Evans in years—not since he used to hang out with her brother in high school. But now she and Nate are guests at the same wedding where the notorious millionaire offers her a wild proposal—a sexy, scandalous and irresistible affair!
Nate's outrageous proposition was supposed to stay only paper-thin; it was merely a ploy to distract the tabloids from another, all-too-real scandal. But neither he nor Payton expected such a very public affair to prove so very hot in private…
Or to have such lasting consequences...