Writing and Me

I thought I’d jump on the band wagon and blog about my writing habits.

I am always curious about other author’s techniques and tips, so thought I’d impart some of my own fancies.

1. Pretty notebooks and new highlighters.

Say what you will, but I can’t help but revel in a new notebook and pens. I turn to that first page with a giddy excitement that one should not acquire from stationery. Those blank pages get me in the right mind set to create, create, create.

It must be pretty because the said notebook travels with me everywhere and I am known to whip it out at a moment’s notice. All my ideas such as names, dialogue snippets, funny quotes, end up in my notebook.

The highlighters are not a necessity, but I just love to highlight things. It’s an illness I live with.

2. Make a good brew.

I can’t function without a mug of strong, hot tea in front of me. Call me an addict.

3. Start to draft.

I don’t plan or outline. Is that a collective intake of breath I hear? Yep, I don’t work well with a plan, but that’s just me. I have an idea, I nurture it in my head for a few weeks, and then I sit down at my laptop and get stuck in.

I enjoy the process of letting my characters follow their own natural story arc. When I plan I fail miserably. My characters kick up a stink about following my outlines, and like stubborn teenagers they sulk and just won’t do what I want. When I said I was crazy I meant it.

However, if something pops into my head that I reckon would fit well with a character’s development, or aid my story’s natural progression, I will ALWAYS jot it down in my pretty notebook…and highlight it.

4. Set a word count deadline.

I have a family calendar in my kitchen and at the end of every month I write in my word count deadline for the next month. I have a young child and many, many commitments to keep, so I try to be realistic.

For my book, EVO Nation, I set myself a twenty thousand words a month deadline. Sometimes I just made it, sometimes I smashed it.

For my current work I have upped the word count to twenty five thousand words a month to test myself. It is a mini achievement to tick off my calendar at the end of each month.

5. First draft and then edit.

If I attempt to edit as I write I end up with a load of tosh. Not to mention that I would never hit my word count deadlines, or progress the story in any way.

Writing my first draft is my absolute favourite thing to do. I love to see where my imagination takes me, and how I develop character traits and story arcs. I can just grab and idea and run with it- pure freedom. If I edited through this process my creativity would be inhibited.

6. Take a step back.

The first draft is complete- hooray.  I literally float around from my achievement, but the euphoria is short lived when I realise what an undertaking editing is. It’s like believing you’ve reached the summit of the mountain, only for the clouds to part, and you notice that you’re not even close.

It is at this critical point that I take a step back. If I allow my first draft to simmer for a month or so I can return to it with my fresh, editing head on. I love how surprised I am when I read something funny or clever and think, ‘wow, did I write that? Go me!’

These are six of my writing habits. However, I am a firm believer in ‘each to their own’.  Find the process that works for you and roll with it.

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4 thoughts on “Writing and Me

  1. I get the very same giddy excitement from new stationary, haha, I need to show you my notebook collection! I have a massive weakness for stationary.
    I don’t like any aspect of coffee but need a cup of tea to get going, too. It doesn’t really matter what kind as long as it’s tea!
    You say you don’t plan but you do nurture an idea in your head for a while before writing – isn’t that a way of planning, too? 🙂 I do plan but if my characters develop differently I let them. We can’t know when we first start to write how everything is going to play out so it’s the only right thing to do by them.
    Not editing while writing is the hardest thing to do for me but I’m trying to be tough and stick it out! Every time I see a spelling mistake pop up the temptation is too great, but I’m getting better at it. As you said, editing while writing ruins things beyond repair.
    I love writing my draft, it’s the most exciting thing! Once it’s done I’ll try to pretend I never wrote the thing for a week or so, so that I won’t be as biased any more when I start my edit.
    I like you, we seem alike ^^

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    1. You should blog about your notebook collection- I’m sure we’re not the only ones with an obsession.
      Yes, I nurture an idea and character traits etc, but I don’t commit anything, and I definitely don’t outline. Some writer friends of mine outline each chapter :O That would definitely not work well for me, but I take my hat off to them. Plot twists in my novel come as much as a surprise to me as it does for the reader, but it’s more fun that way.
      Yes, we do seem alike- I HATE coffee!!!! 😉

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      1. That’s a good idea, I’ll see about doing that next week 🙂 There is a smaller thing I wrote where I do actually outline every chapter, but I don’t write away at it every often so it helps me remember what happened. It’s the only thing I’m doing this for and I’m pretty sure it’ll be the only thing, too! I am still flexible with it, however, so that if any of my characters need to do something else I’ll let them. I agree, plot twists are a surprise to me, too, and they are definitely more fun that way! 🙂
        Haha, coffee smells vile to me, but if it helps some people get through their day then I guess it has its uses ^^

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